Dr Theo Acheampong, Petroleum Economist and Political Risk Analyst

An economist and political analyst, Dr Theo Acheampong, has blamed the reckless spending and lack of revenue generation by government as the primary cause of Ghana’s economic downturn.

He says the country’s economic difficulties can also be attributed to leadership and structural problems.

In an interview on Luv FM’s Luv in the Morning, he said government officials, especially ministers, must be concerned because they are losing public support.

“What this country needs is credibility and productivity from top to bottom. If ministers are not willing to work ethically and follow through on their promises, then what can you expect from a common Ghanaian?

“Some people in office, particularly the Finance Minister, should be worried because they deserve to be sacked. Perhaps, it’s time for fresh faces and ideas to carry the country to a brighter future,” he told host, David Akuetteh on Tuesday.

Dr Theo Acheampong explained that the lack of representation of constituencies in decision-making is a serious problem with the current administration.

“Why do we have 100 ministers when we could do with 50? We have unnecessary departments that could easily merge together and help clear deadwood in government offices.

“You don’t have to be an economist to realize you must grow what you consume and export the rest, especially when you have resources like Ghana. Our government loves importing with almost nothing to export.”

He revealed that in last year alone, Ghana spent over $4.7 billion on importing petroleum, despite having domestic petroleum refineries.

According to him, the country’s tax exemption policy is another reason for what he described as financial mismanagement.

“We have refineries collecting dust that could produce at least 30% of our petroleum needs. We could be saving almost $1.5 billion in petroleum costs.

“We have forsaken an amount worth 2% of the country’s GDP (almost $1.5 billion) by allowing unreasonable tax exemptions,” Dr Acheampong said.

E-levy

The policy risk analyst underscored that the move by government to tax online transactions was wrong, adding that the decision is drawing people’s savings rather than adding value to the economy.

“A recent survey showed the majority’s dissent towards the e-levy. Interestingly, the survey also showed that people would not mind the e-levy if the taxed amount is below 1%.

“No data yet shows value-added or revenue generated from the e-levy. The tax would be beneficial if the amount was reduced, so it doesn’t discourage the public from exchanging money freely.”

Meanwhile, he wants the payment of road tolls to be re-introduced in order to help increase productivity.

“Road tolls not only raise revenue but have other benefits. For example, the government will be incentivised to improve the roads and people will be encouraged to commute collectively thus reducing pollution.

“The roads are so bad that it takes people hours to travel short distances. If the roads are improved, productivity will follow suit as people will have more time to work and more trade can occur due to shorter commute times for trucks.”

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.