Ho, Friday 4th March, 2022 - Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta has indicated that, Government’s strategies to build a sound, robust and entrepreneurial state were clearly stated in the 2022 Annual Budget Statement dubbed “Adwenpa” Budget.
The budget, he underscored, was essentially to turn Ghana into an entrepreneurial state where people would be given the skill set to be able to start their own jobs and grow the economy as Government alone could not provide job opportunities for the youth of the country.
He noted that, the historic GHC10 billion YouStart initiative was one of the many creative programmes found in the Budget to tackle unemployment and restore the economy as Government planned to give people, especially, the youth the confidence to pursue their ambitions.
The Minister made this known when he addressed a cross section of Ghanaians from across the political divide as part of series of Government Town Hall Meetings with the aim of stimulating an honest conversation on the economy.
The Town Hall Meetings were also primarily to garner support for the Electronic Transaction Levy currently awaiting approval in Parliament.
According to Ken Ofori-Atta who referred to himself as ‘Minister Ajorga’ which literally meant Minister in Charge of tax in the ewe language, a careful look at the statistics at every level of the educational ladder gave a staggering revelation worth interrogating.
He continued that, about 2.6 million people out of 4.6million people at primary school would get to JHS and the number further reduces to 1.2 million in SHS and then to about 500,000 at the tertiary institutions out of which maybe 10% or less may get jobs in the formal sector.
Mr. Ofori-Atta wondered why a number of Ghanaians were getting into theories and other conversations when we had large numbers of people, especially, in the youth bracket to employ.
The Minister after commending Parliament for passing the Appropriation Bill appealed to them to as a matter of necessity support the passage of the E-levy as means to get finances to support youth employment and other bold economic interventions clearly stated in the National Budget.
He revealed the results of an analysis which showed that 60,000 professionals which included doctors, lawyers, architects, and others were not paying direct taxes to Government and wondered the kind of society we wanted for ourselves if we could not honour our obligations as citizens.
He therefore stated that, Government needed to find a system which would ensure all-inclusive payment of taxes to increase Government revenues, hence the introduction of the E-levy.
From the Minister, Greater Accra alone provided about 88% of the overall taxes generated in the country, while Ashanti, Western and the Eastern Region contributed 3% of the revenue generation and that showed the inequities in the system though the cry for development was everybody’s right.
He concluded that, the nation could not continue to politicize what was good for the Republic, what was good for the youth, why it was important to pay our debts, and what was important for our infrastructure development.
Other speakers included the Volta Regional Minister, Hon. Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, Hon. Peter John Amewu, Minister for Railway Development and Member of Parliament for Hohoe Constituency and Mr. Pius Enam Hadzide, Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority all spoke in the ewe language and appealed to the natives of the region to support Government to continue to bring more developmental projects to the region through the E-levy.
Minister for Information, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah expertly moderated the programme, which was attended by some Traditional leaders, Civil servants, Identifiable groups, the Media, and the Security etc. END