A lecturer at the University of Ghana School of Law, Mr. William Kofi Owusu Demitia has called for a review of the national budget target setting processes to ensure the complete realisation of targets set in the national budgets.
Speaking at a training session organised by the Parliamentary Training Institute for Ghanaian parliamentarians, Mr. Demitia noted that the current situation where the government is unable to achieve revenue targets set in the budgets it presents means the government needs to take a second look at the processes leading to arriving at those targets.
“Consistently we have had issues reaching our budget targets as a country, which calls for a critical look at measures that translate into drafting these budget targets. Readjusting the state’s revenue and expenditure performance is critical to achieving budget targets”, he said.
He noted that there is the need to adopt a stronger emphasis and commitment to expand the tax net to ensure that all income earners contribute their quota to the national needs.
“For this to be successfully achieved, the state must ensure it systematically identifies income earners in the country, especially self-employed persons and others in the informal sector; re-examine tax exemptions granted to selected organisations and individuals to address the state’s current porous exemption regime, and intensify the current tax compliance regimes in Ghana”, he said.
The training session was held at the Volta Serene Hotel, Ho, to address issues affecting the Ghanaian economy, and the role of the legislature in navigating the state’s revenue and debt performance, as well as educate them on the key factors that inform the revenue targets in the national budgets.
Presenting on the theme “Revenue Mobilisation and Debt Sustainability”, Mr. Demitia highlighted the continuous pattern of the state’s inability to achieve its revenue targets while exceeding its expenditure target using the 2022 Budget Statement as his case study.
He traced the trend of missed targets over the years especially in 2022 as indicated in the 2023 Budget Statement and professed that it was time the government took these issues by its head and applied the necessary laws to get what is due to the state. “Relying on existing tax laws and policies and intensive stakeholder engagement would allow the state to retune aspects of the budget to reach their intended target without overburdening the Ghanaian populace”, he said.
Mr. Demitia suggested that Government should make taxpayer education a paramount objective when developing the yearly budget to improve voluntary tax compliance, which would in turn aid the state in achieving its yearly revenue target.
He added that while it was important to build up voluntary tax compliance in the country, the state should also implement necessary measures to guide tax exemptions and roll out a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system to measure revenue being generated through taxes, saying this could be successfully implemented by enhancing the capacity of the Ghana Revenue Authority to carry out its key mandate.