Ghana is among the top 10 countries losing resources that could transform the country for majority of its citizens.
These amounts, quoted in billions of US dollars, include proceeds of corruption and the kind of dissipation of public resources currently going on, and if they were available, could provide Ghana with about 300 times more of the ‘Tema motorway’ throughout Ghana.
A statement issued in Accra by the Ghana Tax Justice Coalition, said these amounts might even give free education to 7.3 million secondary school students, yet still, provide space for the over 500,000 Ghanaian children who are out of school each year and loitering on fringes of the cities.
It said these acts that result in losses to the state were greatly undermining domestic resource mobilization efforts and creating the dependence syndrome, undermining national sovereignty and constraining the economic policy space and vulnerability to unfair conditionalities tied to development assistance and foreign loans.
The statement said there was no gainsaying that it was usually the poor that bore the pain when more and more austerity was imposed at will government after government.
It said the recent proposed restrictions and cuts in admissions to tertiary and professional institutions were one such austerity measure that would hit hard on the poor and marginalised and would widen the inequality gap which is already huge in Ghana.
The statement said the Ghana Tax Justice Coalition believes an efficient, fairer and pro-poor tax system would benefit all according to their needs.
“The Coalition, therefore, cannot fathom why the governments after governments allow the wanton dissipation of our limited state resources to continue in the face of abject poverty in our communities,” it added.
The Coalition, therefore, called on the Government to take a serious view of these issues, and where appropriate, lead a national crusade against the institutional lapses that give rise to corruption and abuse of office and dissipation of scarce state resources.
It said the current issues must not die the natural deaths, indicating “we are accustomed to, the outcomes of all the investigations must lead to deterrent actions open to public scrutiny and where people are accused wrongly, exonerated properly but where guilt is adduced, punished accordingly”.
The Coalition expressed the belief that it was only then that the public could have confidence that public resources were being used judiciously for the benefit of all.
Government must be able to recover looted funds, punish and shame publicly these untoward actions that drag the state backward and without regard for tax payers’ sweat.