The Minority in Parliament has kicked against the imposition of new taxes introduced by the government in the 2021 budget statement.
Addressing the media at the press conference held today, Thursday, March 18, 2021, Minority Leader Mr. Haruna Iddrisu stated that the timing of the taxes and levies are problematic and unjustified.
The government will be introducing a Covid-19 Health Levy on VAT, Flat Rate Scheme (VFRS) and 1% on National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) as part of the revenue to help recover the economy.
Also, the government has announced 5% on profit-before-tax of banks as the financial sector clean-up levy.
This is to help defray the outstanding commitments in the sector.
Aside from that, the Government has instituted a sanitation and pollution levy (SPL) of 10pesewas to keep the environment clean.
Fuel prices would also go up by 5.7%, Caretaker Finance Minister Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu announced when he read the budget last week.
“I should note that on the basis of existing world crude oil prices, the implementation of the two proposed levies for sanitation and pollution as well as to pay for excess capacity charges, would result in a 5.7% increase in petroleum prices at the pump.”
But reacting, the Minority stated that the imposition of the new taxes are unjustifiable because they have come at a time the private sector is struggling to stay on its feet following the negative impact of COVID-19.
Mr. Idrrisu said for the taxes are likely to distort and impede investment decisions.
He admitted post covid calls for collective sacrifices to rebuild the distressed economy but ”is this government leading by example? Are they engaging in expenditures that convinces us that we all should tighten our belts and accept their new imposition of taxes?
We do not find the imposition of the taxes particularly the timing in our view is inappropriate and can only lead to an increase in hardships and lower living standards of the Ghanaian people. We are therefore not able to support some of the tax measures announced by the Akufo-Addo government in the budget and economic policy statement of 2021. We find the timing of the imposition of the taxes and levies problematic and unjustified,” he added.
He recommended a non-discriminatory stimulus package for Ghanaian businesses and entrepreneurs and not NPP businesses and entrepreneurs.