The Minority in Parliament has warned the government against increasing taxes in the upcoming mid-year budget review which will be presented by the Finance Minister Mr. Ken Ofori Attah on Thursday July 19, 2018.
Speaking at a press conference dubbed ‘the mid-year Economic Performance and Projections; the Minority’s perspective’, former Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson said government will only be punishing the poor with the increases.
According to the Minority in parliament, government must cancel its decision because any such increment will put too much burden on Ghanaians.
“The Akuffo-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 government’s maiden budget in March 2017 highlighted a number of bold policy initiatives designed to restore macro-economic stability, tackle structural rigidities in the budget, boost productivity through abolishing “nuisance taxes” while plugging revenue leakages and reducing import exemptions, tightening expenditure controls to minimize inefficiencies, and reducing the incidence of poverty through job creation.
Before this year’s mid-year budget review, however, speculations have it that, the government intends to increase Value Added Tax, (VAT), from 17.5% to 21%. The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Attah has remained tight-lipped on whether or not this is true, only saying that “until I come to Parliament, we won’t know.”
The Minority argued that, electoral promises made by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) during the 2016 elections were intended only to get them elected and convey an impression of fidelity
Member of Parliament for Ajumako Enyan Essiam constituency, Mr Forson also said, “The reality, however, is that it has led to a major problem for the economy which has translated into severe hardship for the generality of our people,”
He added “Inflation has begun rising again and is now in double-digit following a fleeting stay at single digit in the last two months”. Because currently the cedi is trading at GHC 4.85 and Mr. Forson is afraid if the cedi’s decline is not addressed it could reach GHS5.00 to the dollar by the end of the year
He mentioned that, “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”.
Mr. Casiel Ato Forson further compared the amount of money borrowed so far by the Akufo-Addo-led administration in two years to the NDC’s eight years and described it as excessively borrowing.
“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”.
The 2018 budget statement is themed “From Stabilization to Growth: Putting Ghana Back to Work Again” and implanted on the medium term development program aimed at providing opportunities for growth and job creation.
By: Rita Gyenkel/pinkfmonlinegh.com