Send Ghana is urging the government to prioritize the completion of the Ghana National Housing Registry by providing the needed resources to the GNHR Secretariat to overcome poverty in the country.
In a media engagement to present the assessment of the 2021 budget and economic statement, Country Director of Send Ghana, George Osei Akoto said the move will ensure effective targeting of extremely poor households for social protection delivery.
The completion of the GNHR is critical in ensuring effective targeting of extremely poor households for social protection (SP) delivery. Consecutive national budgets continuously make pronouncements about governments’ commitment to establishing the registry. Despite these promises, the process of rolling out this exercise has been super slow.”
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He said that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that elicited the government’s response in mitigating the impact on vulnerable people further underscores the need to double efforts in producing the GNHR.
He further indicated that “there were widespread media reports, and indeed, SEND GHANA’s social audit of the COVID-19 Alleviation Programme (CAP) confirmed that some vulnerable people, including street children and homeless people were excluded at the height of the crisis when cooked and uncooked food, in particular, were distributed by the government and other benevolent organizations.”
This was largely due to several factors, including a lack of comprehensive and reliable data on vulnerable populations for SP targeting. Prioritizing the completion of the GNHR by providing the needed resources to the GNHR Secretariat is a sure way to overcome such challenges,” he added.
Send Ghana’s assessment of the 2021 budget also focused on some key sectors of the economy.
On taxation, the policy research and advocacy civil society organization called on the government to reintroduce the luxury vehicle tax. Indicating that the government should be innovative and not burden the ordinary citizen.
Government could relook at the implementation challenges/bottlenecks with the luxury vehicle tax and consider reintroducing it; and the high income earner tax (personal income tax band rate exceeding GH₵ 10,000 at a rate of 35%; reviewed to include an additional band of GH₵20,000 and above at a rate of 30%) introduced in the 2018 mid-year budget review. To our disappointment, the government bowed to pressure from various interest groups and economic elites and repealed these taxes in less than a year”, he noted.
On LEAP, the Country Director of Send Ghana said, “as far as we know, there has not been as yet, a clear-cut exit strategy/plan aimed at supporting beneficiaries with a productive capacity to warrant weaning them off the program. As a result, not a single person has purposefully exited from the program since its commencement in 2008.”