Ken Ofori-Atta says the government will not impose new taxes on Ghanaians or ask for more money for its transformation agenda
The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has given assurance to Ghanaians that the government is not going to impose more taxes on them after the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presenting the 2021 Mid-Year Budget Review in Parliament on Thursday 29 July 2021, Ofori-Atta said the government is proud to defend its performance in the first half of the year under review.
“I am not here today to ask for more money. I have not come to ask for more taxes. I have come to update the House on the performance of the economy for the first half-year of 2021 and our plans for the unexpired term of the year,” he said.
Ofori-Atta said the government’s transformation agenda for the year remains on course, adding: “However, with COVID-19 still with us, it is important to stress that this recovery is only the beginning; a beginning that requires our collective sense of responsibility and action as citizens to guide, protect and participate in the recovery efforts.”
“One of the serious impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the loss of jobs, which has exacerbated the unemployment problem, particularly among the youth. As such, the government is ready with a comprehensive programme to tackle this intractable problem. The goal is to create employment opportunities for a million of our young people over the next two and a half years by igniting a high spirit of entrepreneurship. We will count on the support of this august House.
“Our focus on taxes is to collect what is due to the Republic. To this end, we are building a robust framework to expand Domestic Revenue Mobilisation to focus on compliance and enforcement nationwide. We 7 have established the Revenue Assurance and Compliance Enforcement (RACE). The remit of RACE is to identify and eliminate revenue leakages in areas such as petroleum bunkering, gold and minerals export, port operations, transit goods, warehousing, border controls and free zones operations, to name but a few,” he added.
One million jobs
Ofori-Atta said the government has outlined plans to create about one million jobs as part of a three-year strategy to address youth unemployment in the country.
According to him, though the government through its flagship programmes like the 1 District 1 Factory (1D1F) and Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) has created a significant number of jobs, the issue of youth unemployment in the country persists and it is thus putting measures in place to create more and better jobs for young Ghanaians, both in the public and the private sectors of the economy.
He said: “I have had extensive discussions with my colleague ministers of employment and labour relations, youth and sports and lands and natural resources. These conversations culminated in a comprehensive strategy to sustainably address youth unemployment. New programmes will be introduced and existing ones scaled-up and refocused to meet the aspirations of our youth.
“We will work together to sensitise and connect the youth to the numerous opportunities being made available by Government programmes, including a three-year strategy to create job opportunities for 1 million Ghanaian youth. There are currently about five ongoing programmes through which we intend to create these jobs.”