LAUNCH OF THE REPORT ON WHAT TAX INCENTIVES CAN DO FOR BASIC EDUCATION IN GHANA


 


Story by Carlos Afanou






Mr. Sumaila Abdul-Rahman, the Country Director, Action Aid Ghana, during his maiden speech said, education is the foundation for social equity and development. This statement goes beyond the ability of education to equip people with the knowledge and skills needed to fully develop their potential in order to participate in socio-economic development. Education gives people the avenue to escape the intergenerational cycle of poverty. It levels the playing field for children from all walks of life. This is why public investment in education is crucial.



He said Education is a basic human right as captured by the 1992 Constitution under Article 25 thus indicating that "basic education shall be free, compulsory and available to all", The Government of Ghana is mandated by this to provide free access to basic education. This is why we as an organisation applaud the free senior high policy because it would provide opportunity for all.




However, this right is not fully enjoyed by all because of challenges associated with resources leading to inadequate financing. This and many other challenges are the reasons we have gathered here today, to discuss how to deal with this challenge by making proposals through this report, He said.



According to him, the report follows a series of research conducted by Action Aid Ghana focusing on how to leverage domestic taxation for sustainable financing of the education sector, how progressive taxation can increase government's spending on public basic schools and reverse education privatisation and now, what tax incentives can do for basic education in Ghana.




He also said, the cost of education financing is a national issue that requires attention. Government's expenditure allocation to the education sector falls shy of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) target of 20%. Considering the fact that Ghana lost $901m to tax incentives through parliamentary tax waivers and the fact that 20% of that amount could have provided more school infrastructure to pupils, raises a crutial point that should put things in perspective for all of us.




In conclusion, he calls on the Government to revise tax treaties and tax incentives regime and strengthen the tax system so as to increase domestic revenues for the country's development, including investment in education. And he sincerely hope that this report becomes a critical advocacy tool to ensure that children in Ghana enjoy their right to Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education.

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