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12.03.2009 Politics

Joe Ghartey faults budget

By The Statesman

The former Attorney-General, Joe Ghartey has urged the Minister of Finance to reduce corporate tax to 15 per cent to enable the private sector to grow and thus create employment.

He said if the government is serious of partnering the private sector, then they should have a programme for them with the focal point being the corporate tax reduction, from the current 25 per cent to "free money' for the private sector.

Mr. Ghartey was contributing to the debate in Parliament on the Financial Policy Statement of the Government for the year 2009, which was presented to the House on Thursday, March 5, by the Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor.

Mr Ghartey quoted from a book written by President John Evans Atta Mills between 1990 and 1992 in the University of Ghana Law Journal, which stated; "tax rebates leads to employment creation.'

'The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government was able to reduce corporate tax from 35 per cent to the current 25 per cent so this government should further bring it down to 15 per cent.'

The former Attorney-General said the increase in Airport tax would go a long way to raise the cost of doing business in Ghana and prevent the growth of investment.

He said there is also the need to increase expenditure in the public sector just like it was being done by the current US government in the form of the 'stimulus package' to salvage its economy.

Mr. Ghartey said for example that, the government budgeted GH¢4,562,859 for the railway sector whilst the NPP in 2008 budgeted GH¢59,682,804 for the same sector which shows a decrease in government's expenditure.

'The road sector for instance was also reduced from GH¢503,287,051 to GH¢386,370,228 in the current budget, so how can the government create more jobs in the public sector if they are not spending more.'

'This budget is not a pro-job budget,' he said.
The former Attorney-General said at the time the stock exchange all over the world was falling, Ghana gained a remarkable 58 per cent growth by the end of 2008, but with the current dissolution of the Security and Exchange Commission, the trend is beginning to go down because the stock is no more being regulated.

Mr Ghartey said for example that the stock of the Produce Buying Company, which government is the majority shareholder, has had its board dissolved so there is no oversight responsibility, thus affecting its performance.

On the Vision 2020 agenda of the National Democratic Congress government, Mr Ghartey said the NPP government declared the Vision 2015 agenda when Ghana had then not discovered oil, and wondered why after the discovery of oil, the current government decided to push the agenda back five more years. GNA