The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is turning out to be a huge disappointment to those who voted them into power. The so-called change people were hoping for is nothing but a mirage, and Ghanaians are not very impressed. And as if all the disappointment is not enough, it appears that they are planning to increase the VAT rate from 17.1% to 21%.
The minority in parliament, of course, have been very vocal about their displeasure at the introduction of new taxes and increase in existing ones. Casseil Ato forson, Minority Spokesperson on Finance predicted that the Finance Minister Hon. Ken Ofori Atta was going to announce the reintroduction of old taxes and increase in already existing taxes in his mid-year budget review. Mr. Ato Forson , speaking at the minority mid-year roundtable, hinted that the economy is headed towards dangerous times if care is not taken.
Other members of the minority have aired their opinions on these new taxes as well. Without mincing words, the Central Regional Chairman of the NDC, Bernard Allotey Jacobs stated clearly on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo on Wednesday that should the NPP go ahead and add to the suffering of poor Ghanaians by wickedly increasing taxes, there will be a curse on their heads.
“If the NPP go ahead with their VAT increment, it will be a great curse on them; you can’t spit and take it back. Ghanaians are suffering . . . even common staple foods are expensive and now you want to worsen it by bringing tax increment. We didn’t’ ask for free SHS; you said you can do it and now you have turned around to impose tax on the poor whose children are enjoying the free SHS,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah is out there justifying the impending tax increase. Speaking on the AM Show on Joy News, he stated, “If you look at some of government programs that it has outlined, you will notice that the sheer numbers or the size increases as the year goes by, so year one year two, the current revenue measures may be able to accommodate it but as you are going on as the numbers increase, you will need to find new measures that will accommodate them… Admittedly we have a huge gap in this country where people are earning an income and they are not paying taxes and as a result, you have to be taxed some more”.