With effect from next year, the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) will introduce a bi-annual registration of vehicles as a means of validating and updating all genuine registered vehicles.
The exercise would provide information for efficient planning of road use and monitoring of security threats posed by criminal use of discarded licensed number plates. The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, dropped this hint when he presented the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the 2010 Fiscal Year, on the Floor of Parliament yesterday.
This move is expected rake in more revenue for the government.
Dr. Kwabena Duffuor also announced that government has restored duties on imported rice, wheat, yellow maize and vegetable oil that were done away with during the global food hike of 2008, to encourage local production, create jobs and conserve foreign exchange.
He said total Multi-lateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) spending for next year is projected at GH˘103.8million.
“This amount is allocated as follows; Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty Programme, GH˘12million; Savannah Accelerated Development Authority is allocated GH˘25million; Rural Electrification Programme, Shep4, GH˘30million; Scholarships for Students from deprived regions GH˘21.8million; and National Youth Employment Programme, GH˘15million”.
The Finance Minister’s statement also touched on a number of new policy initiatives. Notable among them were new pension scheme, national greening programme, special social intervention , single-spine pay structure, public safety and security, modernizing agriculture, oil and gas industry, private sector development, provision of key infrastructure , water and sanitation, petroleum and ICT.
As part of the wage policy reform, the Minister indicated that Government has agreed with labour on the implementation of the single-spine pay policy, effective January next year, stressing Government White Paper on the policy would soon be out.
Expressing concern about current permits and parliamentary exemption regimes that had eroded the tax base and undermined the effective progress, fairness and efficiency of the tax system, the Finance Minister hinted that beginning the fiscal year 2010, the exemption regime would be reviewed and streamlined to ensure fairness and also avoid revenue losses. “Further revenue measures to be introduced in the fiscal year include; reduction in import exemptions by at least 20 percent from its 2009 level; shift from specific to ad-valorem exercise taxes on selected commodities; increase the minimum mineral royalties to 6 per cent.
In addition, Government will engage all mining companies to address the issue of dividend payment, exemptions and the whole mining sector and revise upwards rates, fees and user charges that do not reflect the cost of public goods and services”.
Highlighting on the social sector which he said a number of initiative would be undertaken with effect from next year to improve the quality of life of the people, Dr. Duffuor bemoaned the number of schools under trees and others that are still running the shift system.
Describing as unacceptable for kids to study under trees in the 21st Century Ghana, the Minister cited that there are 2,349 kindergarten schools, 2,502 primary schools, and 376 Junior High Schools in the country, for which classes were held under trees while there are 43 kindergarten schools, 382 primary schools and 99 Junior High in the country that are still running the shift system.
“Effective solution to the education problems requires more resources to be directed to the sector. And to learn effectively, children need affordable access to decent classrooms and laboratories, learner and teacher support materials, and quality instruction,” he emphasized.
To improve the situation, he assured that in the next three years, Government would provide permanent buildings for every school currently operating under tress and also expand facilities in school running the shift system.
Provision , he added , has also been made for the construction and furnishing of 165 school buildings to accommodate primary and Junior High schools under trees and 250 permanent structures for kindergartens. Besides, Government would from next year provide free education to all disabled children of school-going age.
In the health sector, the Finance Minister expressed Government‘s commitment to focus on scaling up all the existing interventions to improve access to health, particularly the Community Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) Compound Program.
To this end, the CHPS Compound Programme would be expanded by constructing additional 29 compounds to give access to health services for about 14,500 people.
With regard to public safety and security, Dr. Duffuor said Government would continue to assist the security agencies with the right logistics and motivation to facilitate the fight against crime so that the citizens and non- citizens could be guaranteed a safe environment for the discharge of their duties without fear.
Additionally, Government will improve upon the combat readiness of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force through the provision of major and strategic equipment requirements.
The Finance Minister concluded his budget statement with the assurance of Government’s readiness to collectively rise above its perceived inadequacies and stimulate its potential with renewed commitment and determination to move the economy up the ladder of prosperity. “These challenges must be tackled now, and we must do so urgently, recognizing that our economy and Ghanaians in general cannot afford any further delay”.
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