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Incoming ministers should prioritise completion of ongoing projects – James Avedzi

Ketu North Member of Parliament (MP), James Klutse Avedzi, has advised new ministerial nominees to consider completing ongoing projects rather than starting new ones after they’re approved to resume work.

According to him, they have limited time on their hands, and therefore it would be very difficult for them to execute any new projects.

Speaking on JoyNews on February 14, he said “It will add some level of changes because as I said earlier ministers who have now come on board or have now been given a new portfolio will now come with new ideas, but you know it takes some time for the new ideas that they will bring on board to manifest.

“First of all they also need time to study the new ministries, their new portfolio and then see what they can do. It’s nine months to the election so they now coming on board by the time they settle to study their ministries and see the challenges that the ministry has, it will be getting to the election, and the campaign will become heated so definitely they will not be able to implement any policy.

“Maybe with the existing policies, they might continue to implement those policies but to bring on board a new policy within this period, I doubt it,” he added.

Touching on the Finance Ministry, he advised the new nominee to take time to properly study the ministry to understand all tax policies. This he said will help the minister to find innovative ways to increase the tax gap rather than burden the few individuals paying taxes.

“If I were the new minister, what I would do is to review the tax system. All the taxes this government has introduced which definitely burden the people of this country, I need to review the tax system.

“Look at those that can be withdrawn or cancelled. That is what I will do and also look at how I can expand the few that will remain. How we can expand it? You know taxes are such that if you continue to impose taxes on people who are already paying the tax, you are creating more burden for those people.

“There are other people who also earn income but they are not taxed, so if we are able to expand the base and reduce the rate, people will feel comfortable paying the tax. Once the base is big and the rate is low you will still achieve the revenue that you want.

“But because we have failed all the time to work on the base of our tax collection system, that is why we always want to introduce new taxes. People who have been paying the existing one will continue to pay those ones also,” he added.

Again, the Ketu North MP said considering this year being an election year, the government might put pressure on the incoming Finance Minister into releasing funds to undertake ‘election projects’, but Mr Avedzi stressed that he [the new Finance Minister] must stand his ground else he would exceed the government’s expenditure.

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