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09.03.2009 Politics

Parliament must be involved in financial negotiations – Deputy Minister


Mr Seth Tekper, Deputy Minister of Finance-Designate has suggested the involvement of Parliament in the negotiations of financial assistance from the Bretton Wood institutions in the developing countries.

This would enable Parliament to discuss in detail with the terms and conditions that comes with such assistance.

He said the involvement of Parliament would address the pushing down of assistance on developing countries “with many strings in the name of salvaging economies.”

Mr Tekper said this on Monday when he appeared before Parliament's Appointments Committee to be vetted for the position of Deputy Minister of Finance.

He said as bankers, the Bretton Wood institutions normally come in to assist countries with current account deficits or when their economies are in crisis.

Mr Tekper said in such situations loans and assistance comes with some conditionalities.

“Art 4 of the IMF provisions requires member countries of the fund to update the institution of the state of their economies.”

He stated that usually, technical assistance which deals with monetary and fiscal issues comes with experts who help in monitoring and the management of the economy.

The Deputy Finance Minister-Designate, who was also a member of the team which fashioned out the Value Added Tax (VAT) in Ghana said the tax system should be mainstreamed and the main challenge of the tax regime in Ghana is its implementation.

He cited capacity-building of the personnel and well-equipped offices to enable them to work efficiently and effectively.

Mr Tekper said taxpayers should also have the option or a mechanism to challenge the evaluations.

On shipment inspections, he said whether it is pre-shipment or destination inspections, it is important to have “our priorities right.”

He said an integrated approach in the inspection procedure, especially goods produced in the sub-region should be one in collaboration with member countries.

He said even though “economic policies may involve political decisions, the public sector should be non-political in the discharge of their work,” adding, “we should be dispassionate in doing our work.”

Mr Tekper advocated for a designing of a tax regime for small scale enterprises for revenue mobilization.

He said small scale industries have been classified as; “hard to tax” and that enforceable measures should be put in place to collect such taxes.

The Committee members commended Mr Tekper for his performance during the vetting and urged him to translate his calmness and humility into his work when confirmed.