‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ development agenda will fail if domestic revenue mobilisation
is not enhanced to meet growing expenditure, Professor Godfred Bokpin of the University
of Ghana Business School (UGBS), has stated.
According to him, for the agenda to
succeed, it was imperative that the country develops efficient means to
mobilise enough revenues to finance growth and expand infrastructure.
Limited revenues, Prof. Bokpin explained,
would compel the country to seek and depend on aid, which the agenda aims to
“Success of Ghana Beyond Aid depends
largely on the country’s ability to do more in terms of domestic revenue
mobilisation and efficiency in public investment drive. If we cannot do this
two, we should then forget about achieving the objectives of the agenda. Any
country that is inefficient in mobilising revenues but yet want to grow and
expand infrastructure will end up in debt,” he stressed.
Prof. Bokpin was speaking at a
lecture organised by policy think tank, Imani Ghana, in Accra, yesterday on the
theme: ‘Is Ghana’s Debt Sustainability under Serious Threat, after
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Programme.’
Ghana’s inability to enhance domestic
revenue mobilisation, he said, could potentially impede compliance of the Fiscal
Responsibility Act introduced to enhance fiscal discipline by governments.
“If we continue to live beyond our
means, the agenda will only become a slogan to us. Fiscal responsibility
requires that we generate enough revenue to fund our expenditure. The danger is,
we might be forced to breach the fiscal responsibility act and spend more than
we generate just to keep government activities going,” Prof Bokpin stated.
Despite ongoing reforms being
undertaken by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to enhance revenue mobilisation,
he urged for professionalism rather than political influence in the determining
of targets and strategies for revenue collection.
Prof. Bokpin said such
professionalism enabled countries with similar economic structures like Ghana to
improve domestic revenue generation.
He advised the government to resist the
tendency to end the disturbing culture of excessive expenditure in election years,
saying that such action could potentially lead to another subscription of an International
Monetary Fund (IMF) programme to save the economy from collapse.
Referencing to the 2019 report by the
IMF, which cited Ghana as a high risk debt distress country, Prof. Bokpin said
it was time to cut down on borrowing, which was mostly for liability management
and not project financing.
“There is a compelling reason to take
a look at tax exemptions, which derail our efforts to generate maximum revenue
for development,” he said.
Prof. Bokpin indicated that Ghana was
at a crossroad regarding the 2020 General Election, “because we do not
have sufficient physical space, so any election-related expenses beyond a
certain level, may be the reason we go for our 17th IMF programme”.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS and DEBORAH ASUMA
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