Government urged to refocus on agriculture

AgricProfessor Kwame Boasiako Omane-Antwi, the Vice Rector and Dean of Pentecost University College (PUC) Graduate School, has urged the government to refocus on agriculture as the resource base for youth employment.

He explained that there was a need to refocus by enhancing the agricultural projects listed in the budget to ensure sustained growth in agriculture and to halt rural-urban migration.

Prof. Omane-Antwi, who made these remarks during a seminar to review the 2016 National Budget Statement in Accra, noted that though the government seemed to be implementing programmes to secure the right medium-term economy, many businesses had struggled to maintain profitability, while unemployment remained high.

Therefore, he said, the government had to adjust to slower revenue growth.

The Vice Rector said the 2016 Budget was constrained by the need to consolidate our public finances in the context of slower growth and rising debt.

“And so, we must intensify efforts to address economic constraints, improve our growth performance, create work opportunities and broaden economic participation,” he recommended.

Prof. Omane Antwi said Ghana needed to re-strategise by identifying priorities for growth and development such as resolving the energy challenge, developing an industrial policy action plan, unlocking the potential of small and medium scale enterprises, among others.

“We need to work harder and more transparently to achieve the set goals if our dream of ‘Consolidating Progress towards a Brighter Medium Term’ can be realized,” he added.

He said over the years, the Pentecost University had been advocating the widening of the tax net so as to broaden the tax base; as such, it is in full support of any policies that would help rope in persons who were found outside the tax net.

The Vice Rector noted that, however, it was important for the government to have a second look at some of the provisions in the Tax Act, which might push taxpayers to adopt inimical practices including tax evasion.

He, therefore, urged the government to reduce the 15 per cent withholding tax on services for residents to 7.5 per cent, owing to the negative impact on working capital, particularly, on the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Again, he urged government to reduce the taxes on petroleum products to make life a little bit bearable for the citizenry and SMEs.

Professor Cletus Dordonoo, the Chief Executive Officer of ClayDord Consult, a knowledge-based group of enterprises, said one of the most effective measures to increase tax revenue was the government’s ability to prove to the citizenry that their monies were been properly utilised.

As part of the University’s MCom Taxation programme, two Tax Seminars are organised annually to discuss the tax components of the National Budget Statement when it is read and also to review the effects of these tax components in the course of the year.

The MCom Taxation is one of its flagship programmes designed to broaden the knowledge and skills of students by combining lectures and real life training, and this according to the school, would create the needed confidence to handle today’s rapidly changing business environment.

Source: GNA

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