A layman’s view on the maiden 2017 national budget and matters arising
The maiden President Akufo Addo’s national 2017 budget was presented on Thursday, 2nd March, 2017 by Ken Ofori Atta, the Minister for Finance.
The principal objectives behind the budget, as I see them, are reduction of nuisance taxes and increased productivity in all aspects of the life of the country.
The Finance Minister called it ASEMPA (good news) budget, the opposition NDC called it 419 budget and yet still others called it WAAKYI budget, because prices of commodities were slashed down so much that more people will be able to afford to buy and eat again!
It is interesting to note also that, the budget has touched every person and sector of the population, from kayaye, to the business fraternity, teachers, trainees, banks, industry as well as national development projects in agriculture, industry, health, railways, air travel, energy, districts and education (SHS).
Descending to realities of life, the first things Ghanaians want are stable energy situation since this is the power that will propel all the activities of production and employment to rejuvenate the economy, and stable exchange rate to control price fluctuations.
Secondly, the benefits of the tax reliefs must be felt by the ordinary man and woman as soon as possible by ensuring that legislation to the changes are implemented immediately.
Thirdly, attitudinal change from the start in various areas namely:-
- Punctuality at work and events as well as putting maximum effort in one’s work to justify wages received
- Hard work and elimination of laziness from the present work system
- Elimination of holidays that are creating losses in productivity, especially where we are carrying over holidays which have fallen on weekends into weekdays!
- All youth selling all manner of wares on the street must be recruited to work on their district factories so that they can operate from their homes and thus cut out rents as an expense in their wages
- Recruitment into agricultural and the railways sectors must be tackled immediately since these will provide greater avenues for skilled and unskilled labour and employment for the youth.
- With the removal of nuisance taxes, all those not previously paying their due share of taxes must make it a point to pay the smaller taxes they have to pay now and avenues through which moneys were leaking through must be blocked .
- Transparency, accountability and honesty must be the hallmark of all officials that one has to deal with especially in the public sector. All things that have to be fixed for the systems to move smoothly must be fixed. Those who cannot adapt to the change will have to be left behind and / or lose their jobs.
- With the majority of the population geared for change, the donor community must also rally round to support the government to succeed
- Annoying light poles on streets, gaping port holes must be repaired as we do not need outside expertise to do these common jobs.
- Millions of sign boards on street junctions must be removed, especially now that most streets have been named and houses numbered. The sign boards are now a nuisance as they block the view of motorists and are a cause of accidents.
- Haulage companies must be made to invest in the railways rebuilding projects since they are the owners of heavy duty vehicles which damage our roads and also cause congestion on our roads.
A new dawn for national economic recovery has come. Change has really arrived. God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation prosperous, proud, great and strong.