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Opinions of Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Columnist: Quaye, Stephen A.

How Tax Paying Is The Tax Professor?


From: Stephen A. Quaye, Toronto-Canada.

Sixteen months down the lane since Professor John Evans Atta Mills, rose through the backs of Ghanaian electorate to the corridors of power as the incumbent president to see to the running of the country many have showered praises on him as well as others giving him flak.

Many people have been condemned for subjecting the tax professor’s administration to proper criticism and scrutiny. Whenever they raise the red flag over a decision being taken by the president and his government, they are asked to shut up.

But when the president begins to receive a lot of praises for certain directives he issued and many believe that was in the good interest of the nation, then the system is quiet. Do not be surprised since that is the way it is as no one wants to be criticized but rather receive praises all the time.

Though it is always said that no matter what good one does, it will never satisfy another person sitting some where who has assign himself the duty to find fault with others and criticize.

It should be made to understand that it is not a mistake for the electorate to criticize the government over what they think is not right and being pushed to them to swallow. They must be listened to and allowed to come out with opinions and advice as well when they criticize.

Subjecting the president to various forms of criticisms is healthy for Ghana’s democracy because it reminds them of their campaign promises made to the electorate and the need to fulfill them otherwise be shown the exit.

Every electioneering campaign, we hear presidential aspirants coming out with a whole bunch of promises to convince the electorate to vote for them as the best candidate to salvage their sufferings when elected into office. But when they get to the seat of power they forget them.

Criticizing Professor Atta Mills for paying official visits to selected state departments to find out how they were discharging their duties and describing it as health walk was totally unaccepted. I for one, I welcomed the news when it broke out that he has been going on official visits to departments.

However, I was very disappointed when the tax professor visited the Revenue Office otherwise the tax office that no pressman who followed him to cover the visit never asked him any critical question but just covered whatever he said and filed the reportage.

If I were to be part of the pressmen who accompanied the president to the tax office, I would have asked him plain and simple question,”Mr. President, how much tax did you pay in 2009?”It may sound silly to some people but he made every electorate in the 2008 elections to be believe that he will render accounts from time to time to the good people of Ghana therefore we need to know.

Apart from his campaign message probity and accountability, he called for total change of government describing the former government as corrupt government that never carried probity and accountability far.

Yes in the U.S. election at that time when the people were calling for change of George Bush administration, the NDC were also calling for change of President Kufuor’s NPP government in the 2008 election in Ghana.

U.S. citizenry voted for change and brought in Mr. Barack Obama’s government the same as Ghanaians voting for change and bringing in Professor Atta Mills NDC government who all preached probity and accountability.

Now the question is from the two leaders who have been very faithful to his subjects in terms of rendering account to his people since they took office?

Let us take the president of the United State of America [U.S.A] for instance.

Last month, the white house which serves as the seat of the president disclosed that Mr. Barack Obama paid almost [2] two million dollars in taxes and was reported by the Metro newspaper in Toronto April 16-18 edition.

According to the newspaper report, the white house says U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle made 5.5 million dollars last year and paid nearly 1.8 million in federal tax.

The Obama’s the story went on to say gave 329,000 dollars to charities. That included 50,000 each to CARE and the United Negro College fund. The president also donated his 1.4million dollars Nobel Peace Prize award to 10 charities as the white house explained that the vast majority of the Obama’s income was from sales of the president’s books.

When it comes to Professor Atta Mills do you know how much he paid in taxes for last year? Your answer is as good as my. All that we hear from his propagandists is that “Oh the president does not receive allowances for taking certain duties that he is entitled to collect allowances. Even where he was convinced to collect he even donated it to charity Osu Children’s Home or Mental Hospital?

A typical example of promised probity and accountability has been demonstrated by the president of U.S.A. That promised by professor Atta Mills is yet to be made known to the people to believe him of fulfilling his promises.

Can the seat of the president come out to announce to all how much taxes the president paid last year so that we can descend down the ladder to ask ministers, DCEs, parliamentarians, departmental as well as ordinary citizenry how much they paid in taxes last year.

Trust me until that is done there is no way ministers and other office holders are going to declare their taxes and assets as still battled by the president. The ordinary Ghanaian needs to know the tax payments of their heads of states, ministers, parliamentarians as well as heads of departments.

So tell us now Mr. President who professes in tax law.