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General News of Monday, 24 August 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

‘Stiffer punishment needed to stop revenue diversion’

The Vice Rector and Dean of Pentecost University College Graduate School (PUG’S), Professor Kwame Boasiako Omane-Antwi, has called on the government to come up with stiffer punishment that would deter the theft of revenue and make its diversion unattractive.

He said one of the key interventions that could be used to address revenue leakages was for the government to deal with individuals or organisations that rob the nation of its deserved revenue.

In a speech read on his behalf at a seminar on the mid-year budget review, Prof. Omane-Antwi, who is also the Board Chairman of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), said until revenue leakages were sealed, the nation would continue to lose billions of cedis that otherwise could have been used to develop the economy.

The seminar, organised annually by PUCGS, discusses the tax components of the national budget statement and also reviews the effects of the taxes during the year.

Prof. Omane-Antwi said non-tax revenue was one source that could be harnessed to improve revenue.

“The non-tax revenue unit in the Ministry of Finance should be resourced and boosted to enhance revenue collection.”

Prof. Omane-Antwi also said that managers of the economy must have the will-power to pursue policies, including fiscal discipline that hinges on prudent public expenditure management; enhance domestic revenue mobilisation; and public sector reforms, with particular emphasis on rightsizing the public service.

“Other policies that need to be pursued are reclassification of public debt and improvement in public debt management and encouraging the private sector to participate in the accelerated growth agenda through Public-Private Partnership,” Prof. Omane-Antwi said.

He stressed that the tax policy initiatives outlined in the 2015 budget statement must be implemented.

Prof. Omane-Antwi commended the government for coming up with the 40-year development plan and stated that it was needed to guide the country in its developmental efforts.

“The plan, if followed, will ensure sustainable development for our country. It is far better than developing our country based on party manifestos.”

He said the government must bring the citizenry on board by providing a desk at the Secretariat of the NDPC where contributions from the general public would be received.

Prof Omane-Antwi proposed that the final document should be voted upon, in a referendum, for it to be accepted as national in character.

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of ClayDord Consult, a knowledge-based group of enterprises, Prof .Cletus Dordonoo, said the recent energy crisis was affecting the country tax revenue.