Kumasi traders  warn Parliament not to approve 2023 budget

Story: Kwadwo Owusu ADUOMI

Some Business owners in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region have expressed disappointment over Government’s tax policies contained in the 2023 Budget Statement.

According to the traders, the new measures announced by the Finance Minister will only worsen the cost of doing business and burden consumers.

They said the increment in the Valued Added Tax (VAT) by 2.5 percent would l impact their operations negatively and clearly showed that the government was insensitive to the plight of traders.

The Finance Minister presenting the 2023 budget and economic policy said the review was part of a seven-point agenda to boost the economy.

Mr Ofori-Atta further indicated that the increase was expected to yield GH¢2.70 billion, which will be used to augment funding for road infrastructure development.

“Mr. Speaker, the demand for roads has become the cry of many communities in the country. Unfortunately, with the current economic difficulties and the absence of a dedicated source of funding for road construction, it is difficult to meet these demands. In that regard, we are proposing the implementation of new revenue measures. The major one is an increase in the VAT rate by 2.5 percentage points.”

“This will be complemented by a major compliance programme to ensure that we derive the maximum yields from existing revenue handles,” he added.

But traders within the Kumasi Central Business District who recently closed their shops to protest what they called unfavourable tax policies and the high cost of doing business said the government was  only burdening them with more taxes.

Charles Kusi Appiah-Kubi, the Executive Secretary of the Ashanti Business Owners Association, said the government should have introduced measures to soften the financial pressure on traders instead of introducing more taxes.

“We are very disappointed, and it gives us the impression that the government has lost touch with the realities on the ground. Our disposable income has been affected, our working capital has been affected. In a situation where businesses are collapsing, the government should have been conscious in introducing measures that would save businesses…it is our prayer parliament won’t approve the budget,” Mr Appiah Kubi said.

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