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Economic gains should impact lives – GUTA

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The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has called on the government to work with its stakeholders to ensure that the macroeconomic gains in recent years reflect sufficiently in the lives of all Ghanaians.

“We need to work together to bridge the gap between the rich and poor through the creation of decent jobs and provision of social services. We must also pay more attention to agriculture and manufacturing,” General Secretary of the Greater Accra Regional branch of GUTA, Nana Poku said in an interview with The New Publisher. 

According to the labour union in the country, the macroeconomic performance in the last couple of years had been very bad which needs to be worked on for betterment of every citizen.

It has aided in the continuous growth of the economy, indicative in the falling inflation and interest rates, the relatively stable exchange rate, as well as the trade and current account surpluses, were all good indications that a solid foundation was being built for further economic growth and prosperity.

Taxes

However, GUTA wanted the government to implement practical measures to strengthen revenue generation, with focus on making the existing tax regime effective rather than imposing additional taxes, adding that “the tax exemption regime must be overhauled without any further delay.”

GUTA noted that a total tax revenue of 12.9 per cent of GDP in a country where GDP was growing at the rate of over six per cent was problematic, saying “Ghana is under-performing in terms of tax revenue collection, compared to Togo, Senegal, Kenya, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde.”

It said the government’s reliance on personal income taxes, corporate taxes, and petroleum taxes as revenue sources was disproportional, saying higher income taxes and petroleum taxes were adversely affecting disposal incomes and living standards of workers and their families.

“Similarly, higher corporate taxes are negatively affecting the ability of businesses to be more competitive and to create more decent jobs,” it said and questioned the status of the draft policy on tax exemptions.

“What is the status of that policy, has it been passed into law, why should we allow tax exemptions to deprive us of much needed revenue for development,” he quizzed.

Housing

On housing, Mr Poku said the situation in the country required urgent interventions and stressed the need for the government to involve its social partners in the new initiatives.

“A unilateral, top-down, and business-as-usual approach to delivering housing could seriously undermine trust in public interventions. We must work together to ensure that the housing schemes deliver houses that are truly affordable,” GUTA said in its comments.

Other issues

The General Secretary of the Greater Accra Regional branch of GUTA, Nana Poku also commented on capital expenditure which it said was dwindling, the agricultural sector which it said was under-performing, public sector base pay which it said had shrunk over time, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) it said had risks which should also be watched as the country took advantage of the protocol as well as other larger macroeconomic issues.

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