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Government needs to ensure enough public tax education – Prof. Ebo Turkson

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Economist, Professor Ebo Turkson, says the government needs to ensure there is enough public tax education to promote a tax compliant attitude in Ghanaians.

According to him, promoting a tax compliant attitude would support the government’s tax revenue mobilisation agenda rather than the introduction of new tax measures.

Government’s new tax measures have been criticised by stakeholders for being anti-business and too harsh especially taking into consideration the country’s current economic challenges.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express Business Edition, the Economist explained that increasing taxes without increasing tax compliance amongst Ghanaians would be counterproductive and potentially injurious to the growth of the private sector.

He said one way the government could encourage Ghanaians to be tax-compliant was to show the citizenry that the government was making good use of their taxes.

“We need to ensure that there is enough public tax education and also we should show the public sector, the government machinery must show the average Ghanaian that we’re making good use of your money to support the public sector to create jobs for your kids or the young men and women of this country to get into jobs.

“When you do that and people see that the revenue that you get from the taxes are plowed back into the economy to help them, people will be willing to pay taxes. Businesses will be willing to pay more taxes, if for instance you discuss with them and increase their after profit tax by a little bit,” he said.

Describing the government’s yet-to-be-passed tax measures as nuisance taxes, he warned that should they be maintained businesses would suffer in an already harsh climate.

“But when you begin to introduce some of the taxes that become input taxes before you go and tax their profit you’re hurting them. You’re trying to tell them that you’re increasing their cost of production when you should rather be reducing their cost of production for them to produce more, make more profit and then you go and tax after they declare their profit. And that is what the businesses are complaining about, that is what we’ve called nuisance taxes in the past. And why they’re coming back I do not understand,” he said.

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