The current state of our roads and the carnage on our roads has been of a major concern in recent times to all nationals and visitors. It is ‘easy’ for one to drive through potholes or ‘potwells’ when navigating his or her way through the principal streets of Accra on any day. The situation is worse on the ways that lead to where most of our natural resources and raw materials come from.
It is not difficult for one to say that we need good roads in the capital city, we must realise while the streets in the capital city are being constructed and reconstructed all over again, a road like the Akwatia-Kade road remains celibate after ex- president Rawlings and his men touched it with coal tar.
Recently, I joined a bus from Kade to the capital city Accra. The driver paid a levy to the bus station authorities and this is done for every trip. Just about 7 minutes drive from the bus station to the Birim River, the potholes that mark the street will overwhelm an Oware (a traditional pebble game) player at the similarity between the game and the roads. The bad condition of the roads leads to accidents and subsequent loss of life and goods. Just after crossing the river Birim, the driver is made to pay a toll on that road with hopes that it will be reconstructed with the tokens they pay per trip. The bridges have not seen any improvement ever since they were constructed. When there is a heavy downpour, the plight of road users worsens because the potholes are deepened and makes it difficult for drivers to navigate their way to their destinations.
Governments must review their tax incentive policies concerning companies, if possible, government must abolish such incentives altogether for its own good to generate funds to facilitate road construction. Companies such as telecommunications companies must therefore publish their books for transparency in tax payment so government can meet the financial needs of the country. A recent visit to Kade by the first lady was by a helicopter, proof that the road is dangerous.
Tax pays for good roads.
Taxes paid by citizens are crucial in developing countries to pay for essential services and enable governments to fulfil their duties to citizens, we as citizens must therefore fulfil our tax obligations if we want to see the development we desire. Nevertheless, strict measures must be taken concerning companies’ payment of taxes to make sure they are paying the correct amount.
The government is doing well with the construction and reconstruction of roads to facilitate the smooth running of businesses in the heart of Accra and other areas. It is a step in the right direction and will save the shock absorbers of road users who pay their taxes among other things. However, government must be able to generate the revenue due it by taxing companies appropriately without bias to multinational ones to make sure the revenue needs of the country are met to finance the construction of good roads and to take care of other public expenditure.
Funds for making these roads better are from the Brazilian government as loans and it is a good thing. It goes to confirm that the world is a global village with strong ties among global villagers. However, I would like to emphasize that much work needs to be done urgently to effectively collate the funds taken at the toll booths in order to cut down on foreign funds in the form of aid and loans for developmental projects. Ghana loses around $2.27 billion in corporate tax incentives yet this can address our infrastructural development needs.2
Legend has it that ruling political parties give attention to areas where they are voted for most during elections, it presupposes that areas where ruling political parties do not receive a lot of votes will see little or no development. In a democratic country where government is of the people, by the people and for the people, this must not be the case where government is for a limited few. We all pay taxes whether direct or indirect and we are entitled to a fair share of the national cake so governments must fully utilise budget allocation for road construction.
We want multinational companies to be transparent about their finances, including reporting their profits, sales, assets, number of employees and tax payments to governments in each country where they operate (including taxes not paid due to tax breaks) to ensure good roads for economic growth and national development.1
Daniel Nii Ankrah
- Leaky report ActionAid