President Akufo-Addo’s Senior Minister nominee, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has described Ghana’s economy as one that is heavily in debt.
According to him, the situation can be rescued by Nana Akufo-Addo’s government which will block all leakages of the country’s sources.
He made the remark after he was nominated by the President at the Flagstaff House on Tuesday.He was among 12 others named for ministerial nominees pending parliamentary vetting and approval.
Osafo-Maafo also expressed confidence in Akufo-Addo’s government which he said will reduce nuisance taxes introduced by previous governments.
“Today, Ghana’s per capita is thousand two hundred [or] thousand three hundred so we are a lower middle income country. So we cannot be described as HIPC, we can be described as a country heavily in debt, but not poor and that is a big difference.”
He added that, “my first step is to look at the revenue sources and make sure that we block all the loopholes in the revenue side.
“That does not involve any expenditure. It involves looking at the system and blocking all leakages at the customs, airports, harbours, everywhere that we have revenue we must block the leakages. Some taxes are what we call nuisance taxes; you put 17.5% on financial services, how much do you realize from it? Very little, but the efforts of putting up that tax is not worth how much you get. If the tax itself will even impede development, then there is no point keeping it there. You want to free the system to develop. We don’t free systems with taxes, we don’t make money always with taxes. Sometimes you take away taxes to make more money so that people are free to operate to make profit for you to tax,” he explained.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo served as the Minister of Finance, later Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, during the Kufuor Administration.
He held this position from February 2001 and January 2005. Between 2005 and 2006, he became the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports. He is credited with leading the implementation of the free basic education referred to as then as the Capitation Grant.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo is an engineer and a project analyst by training and he established his credentials as a banking and finance leader by heading and successfully restructuring two major Ghanaian banks, the Bank for Housing and Construction and the National Investment Bank between 1979 and 1992.
He has been a Consultant to the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme. Mr. Osafo-Maafo is the past Vice-President of the Executive Committee of the West African Bankers Association, and a founding Deputy Chairman of the Ghana Stock Exchange.
He has served as Chairman and a board member on a number of corporations including Nestle Ghana Limited, National Trust Holding Company, Merchant Bank Ghana Limited, National Development Planning Commission, Divestiture Implementation Committee and Donewell Insurance.
He is a fellow of the Ghana Institution of Engineers and an Honorary Fellow of the Ghana Institute of Architects. He is also a fellow of the Ghana Institution of Engineers and an Honorary Fellow of the Ghana Institute of Architects.
By: Godwin A. Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana