The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is resisting plans by government to introduce new taxes in the mid-year budget review, which is scheduled to be read in Parliament on Thursday, July 19.
The NDC thinks the imposition of new taxes will worsen the tax burden on Ghanaians and also defeat the promises the New Patriotic Party (NPP) made on assuming office in 2017.
The Finance Minister, has ahead of the mid- year budget review presentation in parliament hinted government will increase tax to raise more revenue.
But speaking on TV3, Thursday, July 12, the Greater Accra NDC Chairman, Joseph Ade Coker, said Ghanaians will resist any attempt to introduce new taxes.
“The system now as we have, people are suffering, the burden is too high to carry to add more taxes, I’m sure the people of the country would not accept it”, he observed.
He quizzed the rationale behind the introduction of new taxes when the NPP in fulfillment of its promise to remove “nuisance taxes” started off by actually scraping some taxes.
He contended that since the NPP claims to have made an impact with the removal of some taxes in 2017, they should remove more taxes to get higher results.
“If you reduce something it should have made an impact so that you reduce it more so that the impact would be bigger. Now you are telling me that you have reduced taxes, the impact is there but you want to rake back that impact your taxes have created”, he said.
It is recalled that the 2017 Budget Statement, read on March 2, indicated that the budget aimed at building strong fiscal foundation for the Ghanaian economy. The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta stated then that the NPP’s economic focus was to move away from taxation to production by reducing the corporate tax from 25% to 20%.
Ade Coker wondered what had changed over that short period of time.
“So what you’ve given the people you are going to take it back from them?” he asked.
Head of Communications for Energy, Nana Kofi Damoah, in reaction noted that the taxes the NPP government has removed so far are the “nuisance taxes”.
He however indicated that there is the pressing need for government to raise more revenue for developmental projects, hence the need to introduce new taxes.
Mr. Damoah claimed the NPP government had made more revenue in 2017 than the NDC government made in 2016 but he argued it is still necessary to raise more money.
“At the end of 2017 what the figures are telling us is that, we more than doubled, the growth rate that was achieved in 2016.”
Meanwhile, a senior lecturer at the Economics Department of the University of Ghana, Dr. Eric Osei-Assibey has also been urging government to use the mid-year budget review as an opportune time to impose new taxes to generate revenue to support the economy.