Restoring toll booths as part of fiscal consolidation measures – ISSER

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The Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana (UG) has urged the government to reintroduce the road toll system as part of its fiscal consolidation measures.

He said toll booths should be reinstated with an effective electronic pass system to address congestion in parts of the country’s roads.

Professor Quartey was presenting at the 2022 edition of the ISSER Roadshow on the State of the Ghanaian Economy (SGER) Report 2020 and Ghana’s Social Development Prospects (GSDO), organized in collaboration with Winneba College of Education.

It was held under the theme: “Harnessing Stakeholder Engagement and Feedback for Research Impact” and provided a platform to discuss the successes and challenges of Ghana’s economy and the ways to stimulate the economy through a non-partisan lens.

The Ministry of Roads and Highways on Thursday, November 18, 2021 closed all toll booths across the country following a directive from the Ministry of Finance to Parliament.

Meanwhile, the government aims to achieve a budget deficit of 7.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022, against 12.1% forecast for 2021, in a bid to save the economy.

Therefore, he introduced some economic policies including the imposition of Electronic Transfer Tax (E-levy) to enhance domestic revenue mobilization and reduce borrowing.

Prof Quartey says the outright abolition of road tolls put the government in a bad light as it sent the wrong signals to private investors who wanted to partner with the government on other projects.

He insisted that toll booths be reopened and operated effectively and efficiently.

Professor Quartey observed that Ghana’s economy experienced turbulent times in the first quarter of 2022 due to a series of developments both domestically and globally.

He said the economy was hit hard as crude oil prices rose from $74.17 a barrel in December 2021 to $130 on March 7, 2022 before falling back to $115 on March 24.

He also observed that the Cedi had depreciated cumulatively by 15.6% against the dollar, 13.4% against the British pound and 13.3% against the euro.

“At the end of December 2021, the stock of public debt had increased from 351.8 billion GH¢, or 80.1% of GDP, against 218.2 billion GH¢ in December 2020”, he said. he adds.

He noted, however, that the difficulties prevailing in the country were not a special situation, citing 2022 inflation rates in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.

He affirmed that despite the challenges, the country was developing with good prospects.

For fiscal consolidation, Prof Quartey said the government must engage in aggressive revenue mobilization through effective tax and non-tax revenue-generating measures.

He noted, for example, that the property rate of GH¢468 million projected for 2022 was insufficient given the number of properties in the country and urged the government to do more.

Source: GNA

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