Dr. Benjamin Otchere-Ankrah has raised concerns over the 2023 Budget and Economic Policy presented by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to Parliament on Thursday.
The Minister delivering the budget dubbed ‘NKABOM’ said the government has approved some directives which take effect from January 2023.
"All MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs are directed to reduce fuel allocations to Political Appointees and heads of MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs by 50%. This directive applies to all methods of fuel allocation including coupons, electronic cards, chit system, and fuel depots. Accordingly, 50% of the previous years (2022) budget allocation for fuel shall be earmarked for official business pertaining to MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs;
"A ban on the use of V8s/V6s or its equivalent except for cross-country travel. All government vehicles would be registered with GV green number plates from January 2023; Limited budgetary allocation for the purchase of vehicles. For the avoidance of doubt, the purchase of new vehicles shall be restricted to locally assembled vehicles;
“Only essential official foreign travel across government, including SOEs shall be allowed. No official foreign travel shall be allowed for board members. Accordingly, all government institutions should submit a travel plan for the year 2023 by mid-December of all expected travels to the Chief of Staff", he stated.
He also announced a reduction of the Electronic Transfer Levy rate from 1.5% to 1% saying "review the E-Levy Act and more specifically, reduce the headline rate from 1.5% to 1% of the transaction value as well as removal of the daily threshold" and further proposed to “increase the VAT rate by 2.5 percent to directly support our roads and digitalization agenda; Fast-track the implementation of the Unified Property Rate Platform programme in 2023".
Assessing the budget during Peace FM's "Kokrokoo" discussion programme, Dr. Benjamin Otchere-Ankrah, a Governance Lecturer at the Central University, sought for a review of the COVID levy.
He wondered when is the payment of the levy going to stop.
"When the COVID levy of 1 percent was introduced, no timeline was given. Is it permanent a tax we are going to pay? Till when are we going to pay this COVID (levy)?...To begin with, how much money did we get out of this 1 percent of COVID?...When will we stop paying this COVID levy of 1 percent? Is it permanent now?", he asked in earnest.
The Lecturer also slammed the Finance Minister for being late on reducing the E-Levy to 1 percent when critics including himself vehemently advised him to do when it was introduced.
He noted that the Minister's difficulty to reduce early on disincentivize people to pay the E-Levy.
Dr. Otchere-Ankrah charged the government to "sit down and manage the economy well because if we don't manage the economy well...are you going to attract investors because that is our clarion call?".
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