The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana (UG) has urged the government to reintroduce the road toll system as part of its fiscal consolidation measures.
It said the tollbooths should be re-instated with an efficient electronic-pass system to address congestion in some parts of the country’s roads.
Professor Quartey was making a presentation at the 2022 edition of the ISSER Roadshow on the State of the Ghanaian Economy Report (SGER) 2020 and Ghana’s Social Development Outlook (GSDO), held in collaboration with the University of Education, Winneba.
It was held on the theme: “Harnessing Stakeholder Engagement and Feedback for Research Impact” and it provided a platform to discuss the successes and challenges of Ghana’s economy and ways to boost the economy through a nonpartisan lens.
The Ministry of Roads and Highways on Thursday, November 18, 2021, closed all toll booths across the country following a directive by the Ministry of Finance in Parliament.
Meanwhile, the government is targeting to achieve a fiscal deficit of 7.4 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022 as against the projected 12.1 per cent for 2021 in a bid to salvage the economy.
Consequently, it has introduced a few economic policies including the imposition of the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-levy) to strengthen domestic revenue mobilisation and reduce borrowing.
According to Professor Quartey, the outright removal of road tolls put the government in a bad light because it sent wrong signals to private investors who wished to partner the government in other projects.
He insisted that the tollbooths should be reopened and effectively and efficiently operated. Professor Quartey observed that Ghana’s economy suffered turbulent moments in the first quarter of 2022 owing to an array of developments both internally and globally.
He said the economy was badly hit by the rise in crude oil prices from $74.17 per barrel in December 2021 to $130 as of March 7, 2022, before going down to $115 as of March 24.
He also observed that the Cedi had cumulatively depreciated by 15.6 percent against the Dollar, 13.4 percent against the Pound Sterling and 13.3 percent against the Euro.
“At end of December 2021, the public debt stock had increased from GHC351.8 billion cedis which was 80.1 percent of GDP as compared to the GHC218.2 billion in December 2020,” he added.
He, however, noted that the prevailing hardship in the country was not a peculiar situation, citing the 2022 inflation rates of US, Germany, and UK.
He averred that despite the challenges, the country was growing with good prospects. For fiscal consolidation, Professor Quartey said the government must embark on aggressive revenue mobilisation through efficient tax and non-tax revenue-generating measures.
He noted, for instance, that the property rate of GHC468 million earmarked for 2022 was inadequate in view of the number of properties in-country and urged the government to do more.