Sunday, 25 February

Ghanaians 'even willing to pay higher taxes' – Afrobarometer report

The government recently introduced new taxes

Ghanaians “endorse” taxation and are “even willing to pay higher taxes” to support the country’s development, a new Afrobarometer study has revealed. 

However, the report said the “majority” of citizens say it is “difficult” to find out what taxes and fees they are supposed to pay and how the government uses tax revenues.

The analysis found that citizens are “more supportive” of taxation “if they believe the government is doing a good job of delivering basic services”. 

“But many citizens also expressed mistrust of the tax authorities and see widespread corruption among tax officials”, the report noted. 

In its 2021 budget statement, the government introduced new taxes, including a 1% COVID-19 levy added to the VAT and a 1% addition to the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL). 

Below are the key findings of the Afrobarometer report: 

Eight out of 10 citizens (79%) say that tax authorities always have the right to collect taxes. Fewer than two out of 10 (15%) disagree (Figure 1).

A large majority (72%) are willing to pay more in taxes to help finance the country’s development from domestic resources rather than through external loans (Figure 2).

Citizens who think the government is doing a good job of improving basic health services, addressing educational needs, providing water and sanitation services, maintaining roads and bridges, and providing a reliable supply of electricity are 6-8 percentage points more likely to endorse its right to collect taxes (Figure 3).

But large majorities say it’s difficult to find out what taxes they’re supposed to pay (61%) and how the government uses tax revenues (70%) (Figure 4).

Only four in 10 citizens (39%) say they trust the tax authorities “somewhat” or “a lot.” More than eight in 10 (84%) think at least “some” tax officials are corrupt, including one-third (34%) who think that “most” or “all” are involved in graft. 

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, nonpartisan survey research network that provides reliable data on Africans’ experiences and evaluations democracy, governance, and quality of life. 

Seven rounds of surveys were completed in up to 38 countries between 1999 and 2018. Round 8 surveys in 2019/2021 are currently underway. 

Afrobarometer conducts face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice with nationally representative samples. 

The Afrobarometer team in Ghana, led by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), interviewed 2,400 adult Ghanaians between 16 September and 3 October 2019. 

A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-2 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys were conducted in Ghana in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2017.