Gone are the days when Ghanaians would tune in once a year at 6pm to listen (watch) attentively to the budget statement being read by the then Finance Minister Dr. Kwesi Botchwey on national television; even as they paid keen attention to salient points made regarding the exchange rate, cost of utilities, ex pump prices of fuel and infrastructure projects to be undertaken such as roads and hospitals. For many Ghanaians, these were considered the main key performance indicators of the government. Two decades down the line, it is fair to say that the focus is yet to change.
A Stronger Economy for Jobs and Prosperity was the theme for the 2019 budget statement presented to parliament by the Finance Minister. Key items highlighted were job creation, infrastructure development, enhancing domestic revenue mobilization and private sector development.
Let’s put aside all the technical words, multiple zero figures and economic jargons which so characterize this voluminous 300 page document, one may ask, what will all these impact or reflect in the life of the ordinary Ghanaian on the street?
Looking at the thrusts of the 2019 budget statement, it is fair to say that Ghanaians should brace themselves to give unto Caesar what is due him. The National Identification drive, Tax Identification Number (T.I.N) initiative, tax stamp policy and Ghana Post GPS are all geared towards widening the tax net, and thus fulfilling this ‘’prophecy’’. Artisans, petty traders and the self-employed who previously had been somewhat escaping from the tax master must now be prepared to honor their civic responsibilities. To be continued.