Minority cautions govt against tax increment

BY: Getrude Ankah Nyavi
Minority caution against tax increase
Minority caution against tax increase

The Minority in Parliament has cautioned the government against increasing taxes, stressing that will worsen the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian.

“The Akufo-Addo government should be wary of burdening Ghanaians in its desperation to save face. The fiscal problem is a direct result of shallow opportunism and populism,” the Minority stated at a press conference in Accra on Monday.

There are suggestions the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta will on Thursday announce the introduction of some new taxes as well as increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) and National Health Insurance levy when he delivers the mid-year budget review.

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Speaking at the Monday press conference dubbed ‘the mid-year economic performance and projections; the Minority’s perspective’ the Minority called on the government to rescind its decision, if there were any to increase as well as introduce new taxes.
    
The Minority spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson said the electoral promises made by the NPP during the 2016 elections were intended only to get them elected and convey an impression of fidelity.

He added, the economy is heading towards dangerous times, saying “there have been strong indications from persons close to this government that the Finance Minister will slap a hefty 2.5 percentage increase on VAT. If this proves to be true, it would be most baffling as, apart from the extreme hardship it will impose on Ghanaians, it makes the Free SHS justification untenable without tax increases.”

“At this point, we wish to remind Ghanaians that the 2.5% VAT proceeds that accrue to the Ghana Infrastructure and Investment Fund (GIIF) has already been committed to finance that programme, as part of the 2017 and 2018 budget. This is another clear example of also channelling non-oil revenues into consumption, away from investment. A clear fact that emerges from the discussion so far is that the current crisis confronting the managers of the economy, compelling them to impose a raft of heavy taxes on the already burdened populace, is self-imposed. The Akufo-Addo government should be wary of burdening Ghanaians in its desperation to save face,” Mr. Forson said.


Accusing the government of wasteful expenditure, the Minority said,  “Inflation has begun rising again and its now in double-digit following a fleeting stay at single digit in the last two months or so.

“The Ghana cedi continues its catastrophic nose dive and is showing no signs of improvement despite a lofty talk from the government and the central bank....This will, in turn, lead to a steep rise in the prices of goods and services leading to more hardships for the people,” he said.

The group further said that contrary to promising not to borrow when giving the mandate to govern the country, the Akufo Addo government is borrowing at break-neck speed and in alarming proportions.”

Mr Forson also described the amount of money borrowed so far by the Akufo-Addo-led administration in under two years to the NDC’s eight years as alarming.

“They have borrowed nearly half of what the NDC borrowed in eight years. More worrying is that they have virtually no serious capital investment to show for this level of borrowing except a reckless dissipation of borrowed funds on consumption that saddle present and future generations with debt they will struggle to pay in the future,” he claimed.