2022 Budget: Reduce tax burden on SMEs- Mahama to govt
Ex-President John Dramani Mahama has asked government to use the 2022 national budget to reduce the unbearable tax burden on Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
Speaking on Social Justice and Sustainable Economy on Wednesday 10 November 2021 in Accra, the 2020 NDC Flagbearer John Mahama said “To further reduce the burden of unemployment, this government has a unique opportunity in the
2022 Budget Statement to lessen the tax burden on small and medium scale businesses. They must be allowed to grow to become more innovative and expand their employment generation capacity”.
“While I am aware of the tempting desire for the government to amass massive revenues for their untempered consumption-driven appetite, I need to caution that we must not kill the hen that lays the
golden egg, in this process. It has become evident that the current approach in public financial management has failed and needs to be reconsidered. It has also become evident that the private sector needs support to help resolve the troubling levels of joblessness”, Mahama said.
Mahama noted that ”
Ghanaian companies have proven that when they are given the needed push they will thrive, flourish and employ more. We tried it with the $20 million injection in Entrance Pharmaceuticals (Tobinco),
Ernest Chemists, Dannex, DanAdams and Kinapharma to expand production and provide jobs. It worked. Such a stimulus package to viable Ghanaian entities in targeted sectors can be adopted under the current circumstances to induce growth and enhance the employment generation capacity
of the selected firms”.
The former Ghanaian Leader said “The Ghana EXIM Bank must re-direct its financing, more towards agriculture and agribusinesses.
Farmers and agri-businesses in fishing, poultry and livestock, cashew, cocoa, sea, cotton, palm, and
rubber etc. are in dire need of financial support to expand, take advantage of emerging local and
international markets and contribute to employing more hands.
Public sector workers have proven over the years to be critical partners in national development.
Perhaps this explains why it continues to attract job seekers. I disagree with the oft-repeated position
that the public sector is full and has no room for more people.
The Human Resource Gap (HR Gap) study we conducted on the public sector last year, revealed
gaping shortages in specific segments of the public sector. The Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Health Service have human resource gaps of almost 100,000 (98,650 actual) and more than
70,000 (76,795 actual) respectively. Similar gaps were also identified in the security services: Ghana Police Service – 35,020, Ghana National Fire Service – 30,136, Ghana Immigration Service – 3,522, and
Ghana Prison Service – 7,925.
What is lacking are innovative strategies of financing these human resource gaps. The time has come
for the government to bite the bullet and take the bull by the horn. Many of these sectors can be made self-financing to improve the capacity to employ, once they are allowed to use portions of their
Internally Generated Funds instead of depending solely on the consolidated fund.
Similarly, the informal sector, which includes the creative arts industry and sports also deserve
attention. Sports and creative arts are powerful life-changing endeavours. Azumah Nelson, 20-year
old Samuel Takyi of Tokyo 2020 fame, Abedi Pele, Professor Francis Dodoo, Adjoa Bayor, the late Nana Kwame Ampadu, Amakye Dede, Kojo Antwi, modern day musicians, actors and actresses have
transformed their lives and that of their families and communities through their talents.
Government must always keep in mind that their trade can only be enhanced if, and only if, the
appropriate infrastructure and the enabling environment is created for them. After all, traders at our
various food markets need good roads to cart farm produce from the farm-gate to the market to sell
and make an income, while importers – like my friends at Abossey Okai – need a favourable exchange
rate regime and a reduction in taxes at the port for their businesses to thrive.
Ladies and gentlemen; let me quote for you a paragraph from the NDC’s 2020 People’s Manifesto,
and its reads: “Ghanaians need new opportunities for the development of their talents and skills.
Transitioning from the current economic model to a knowledge-based economy will provide exactly
For me, if a government must commit future generations to a financial obligation, then a substantial
portion of the funds should be used for projects that can generate income to pay back the debt. Or
the funds must be directed towards public investment expenditure (CAPEX) that future generations
can benefit from. The difference is very clear if you compare our record to the current trajectory.
We could also have opted for the short-term convenience of capping numerous statutory allocations
but decided against it because of our focus on equitable and sustainable growth. I have heard various
reports about attempts to access the Ghana Heritage Fund by this administration to support the
annual budget. That cannot be. That should never be. I do hope that these are just speculations. If the
government has decapitated over 90% of the petroleum revenue inflows, how can the meagre 8%
The Stabilisation Fund and the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF), both of which was
established during my period as President can serve Ghana well. Let me recognise the contributions
of my Senior Policy Adviser Dr. Valerie Sawyerr and the venerable Uncle Ato Ahwoi for their tireless
efforts towards the setting up of especially the Infrastructure Fund.
Additional oil revenues, which came on stream from the Sankofa – ENI fields, the TEN fields and the Energy Sector Levy (ESLA) should have provided sufficient revenue to retire most of the legacy debts
in the energy sector and strengthen the banking sector. We would have avoided the reckless and deliberate collapse of Ghanaian-owned banks, the massive job losses and the many adverse socioeconomic impacts that were associated with this unfortunate endeavour. My beloved brothers and sisters, the singular effect of this botched banking regulatory action on
consumer and business confidence will impact this country for a long while. I am proud that as President and in conformity with our traditional ways of doing things as a true Ghanaian – consensus
building – our administration strengthened the consensual approach to policy building. We reached across party lines and accepted criticism in good faith.
Ex-President John Mahama has accused Akufo-Addo-led government of being intolerant of constructive criticisms from Civil Society Organisations, the clergy and the media meant to put government on its toes.
“We did not hound journalists and civil society organisations for aggressively criticising us even if we
disagreed with their approach or viewpoints. Most of you will remember the Senchi Forum that had
an audience of prominent talents from opposing political groups.
Another key plank of our administration’s strategy was transparency in our public financial
management system and in our national discourse. The opacity within our current national discourse
about economic indices undermines our collective progress. Debates about the true state of the
nation, its debt levels, exchange rate trajectory or even growth numbers underpin the need for strong
institutions that cannot be subverted by individual preferences.
Under the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), we implemented
best-practice control systems to improve accountability in public financial management. We plan to
pick up from where we left off. We also promulgated the Public Financial Management Act to align
our fiscal management practices with international standards.
Whiles strengthening the economy for sustainability our government further had our eyes firmly on
growth and productivity. We did not believe we could recklessly borrow our way out of underdevelopment”.
For Mahama, the major roadblocks to mobilising resources to fund Ghana’s development agenda is corruption which continues to embarrass the presidency.
“A major hinderance to mobilizing sufficient resources to fund our development is corruption. We
have in recent times witnessed acts of corruption, cronyism and decadence that lower the pedigree
and reputation of the Office of the President – not forgetting the dubious and opaque Agyapa Gold
Royalties deal, which this government is still hankering after with plans of executing and hosting in a
Ex-president John Mahama has lauded the Catholic Bishop Conference’s recent criticisms of President Akufo-Addo for not protecting the public purse and his failure to fight corruption.
“I must at this point recognise the nationalistic truth and outpouring of the sentiments of many
Ghanaians by the Catholic Bishops Conference on Monday. Until we are bold to reflect what we are
all experiencing under this government, the situation will continue to worsen, and we are all going to
be worse off from suffering. Ladies and gentlemen, civil servants, doctors, nurses, teachers, businessmen and women, traders,
farmers, drivers, and the teeming unemployed youth of Ghana, this government is our common national tragedy. We may yet have to endure these very difficult times for a while more due to a
combination of factors”.
John Mahama has however asked Ghanaians not to lose hope in Ghana. According to him, despite the failure of Akufo-Addo regime, Ghana has not broken beyond repairs, promising that NDC will fix the country in 2025 upon winning 2024 elections.
“But I come to you this evening with a simple message. Do not – out of avoidable hardships and difficulties – despair to the point of losing hope and giving up on Ghana. Do not lose hope! Instead, I urge you to hope and work hard for a better Ghana and a better future under a new NDC
administration in 2025.
I am talking about a future where your name, your ethnicity, your tribe, your circumstances of birth will not determine how you are treated in your own country by your own government. I recall the words of the Most Reverend Japhet Yao Ledo during my thank you tour of the Volta Region, and I
stand this evening to assure the people of the region and the nation at large that all successive NDC “.
According to Mahama, NDC Administrations will continue to be national and people-centred ones, sharing the national cake, equally and beneficially to all regions and parts of the country. A future where institutions will work for the good of all citizens and all citizens will reciprocate
institutions with willing respect, not demanded obeisance out of fear of repercussions from the
powers that be.
A future where the President will accord due respect to all citizens including Chiefs from all regions.
So that a legitimate request by a Chief in Aflao to a minister to complete and operationalise a
Community Day Senior High School started by my administration would not be treated shabbily by the President”.
H.E John Mahama said government has been unfair to the 499 law students.
“A future where state institutions will not astronomically increase admissions to the Ghana Law School in an election year; just because John Mahama and the NDC promised to expand access to
professional legal education – only to turn around a year after the elections to deny access to many
more students including those who are deemed to have passed the entrance examinations.
Ladies and Gentlemen, these are the issues the government wants you to ignore and forget. But how can you forget your living experience of hardships? No amount of digital propaganda, stateorchestrated and exaggerated actions and diversions will take away the excruciating hardship Ghanaians are enduring under this government.
In the middle of all these social and economic injustices, I urge all state institutions including
independent constitutional bodies and the security apparatus, to be mindful of their mandate to the
constitution and the people of Ghana. They should not yield to pressure to become agents of
oppression and tools for propaganda. This country will be liberated, and they should seek to be on the favourable side of history.
Mahama noted that ”
The recent brouhaha about upweighting the use and application of enhanced computer systems in
our workflows, practices and lifestyles is needless. Some have opted to term the drive a digitalisation
drive. I am not the type to be taken in by words or huge catchy phrases as I focus on the substance of the programme in terms of its objectives, mode of delivery, outcomes, and impacts at cost effective
levels. It is quite amusing though, that even as the economy faces these severe challenges requiring urgent
action, those who have been responsible for the mess, have attempted to make a fluid transition
from failed, self-styled economic messiahs of the very recent past to overnight IT champions.
We are suddenly being told that the decades old incremental progress that has been made in the ICT sector due to sound and consistent policy making spanning several governments leading us to a point
where they are being leveraged for convenient, efficient and innovative service delivery and
transactions, is the brainchild of some people whose record and involvement is at best, very tenuous”.