Ghana has been ranked 29th out of 41 countries in Africa under the Committed to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index Report, an indication that the government must do a little more in bridging the inequality gap.
The report, conducted by OXFAM, SEND Ghana and partners, ranks Ghana as one of the least in investments, healthcare, and social protection.
We cannot be proud that in social protection, Ghana ranks 12th on social spending, after countries, including Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Mauritania. We say this because all those countries who are placed ahead of us have so many things to learn from us, as a country.
The Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) index reports further shows that Ghana is among the worst countries in the sub region, owing to, among other things, the unwillingness of the government to invest more funds in healthcare, education and social protection for the most vulnerable in the country.
If after the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Free Senior High Policy and reforms at the Ministry of Social Protection, Ghana still suffers from inequality in those sectors, then stakeholders must urgently get back to the drawing board to diagnose the problem and prescribe effective solutions.
The Chronicle sides with a Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Professor, Godfred Bokpin, who says that inequality is on the rise and only benefiting a very few people, while a number of people are growing fantastically rich in Africa.
We are aware that inequalities occur as a result of rigged economic systems, which enable a small minority to accumulate huge fortunes through political capture, monopoly, cronyism and inheritance.
The Chronicle would like to caution state actors that the rising inequality is a threat to social cohesion and to our democracy, and that very pragmatic steps must be put in place to check inequality reaching a crisis level in the country.
The CRI index reports shows Ghana ranked top in the Progressive Taxation along countries such as Togo and Benin in West Africa, which means that these countries’ tax policies are comparatively progressive than other West African countries.
This is where we give thumps up to the revenue agencies, but more needs to be done to rake in more revenue for social intervention programmes which would enhance the living conditions of the people.
The Chronicle would like to urge the government to harness the recommendations contained in the inequality report to reduce the gap between the rich and poor, as well as inequality.
We would like to stress that progressive taxation must be structured to ensure that special attention is paid to increasing tax compliance by high net worth individuals.
There is also the need to tax wealth that is hidden offshore and strengthen protection for labour rights, and enact policies for more inclusive labour markets.
The Chronicle believes that in order to eradicate inequality, the government must spend more on health, education and social protection.
We have not lost sight of the fact that governments have, since 2017, made some efforts at straightening those three areas of the economy, but we should and can do more.
The government’s trumpeted One District-One Factory and other equally beneficial programmes should be fast tracked to improve the living conditions of the people especially those in rural communities.
To us, government should be a little more proactive and to have a direct intervention to ensure that growth actually benefits the poor.