THERE is a strong air of anxiety blowing over the country ahead of the mid-year budget review in Parliament this week Thursday, July 19, 2018.
EVERY Ghanaian, following hints that the central government will unveil new taxes, together with increasing some already existing ones, is feeling this uneasiness.
AS usual, the development has sparked a partisan debate between the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the largest opposition party—the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
THIS whole introduction of new taxes by the current administration was started by a Facebook post last week Thursday by a leading member of the NPP who is also the former Director of the Danquah Institute (DI), Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko.
IN the said Facebook post, Mr Otchere-Darko wrote: “will you support a VAT increase to keep your lights on, your secondary schools filled, your school kids fed, your streets clean, your streets safe, young graduates employed, and decent, affordable homes built for working families?”
THAT post is what is lending credence to the speculation that indeed the Akufo-Addo administration will increase the Value Added Tax (VAT).
A tweet from former President John Dramani Mahama in reaction to Mr Otchere-Darko’s post said: “The Ghanaian business sector has never experienced such difficult times in the history of the 4th Republic. Akufo-Addo’s proposed new taxes would cripple businesses further and also defeat his much-touted mantra of “from taxation to production.”
THOUGH there has not been any statement from officialdom on the rumour, many Ghanaians appear worried over the speculation that the government will introduce some more taxes.
MANY have described the move as a turnabout, especially when in page 17 of the NPP 2016 manifesto, under the sub-heading: “Shifting the Focus of Economic Management from Taxation to Production,” the NPP attributed the mismanagement of the economy under the erstwhile Mahama administration to increase in taxes.
THE NPP in that manifesto talked about creating a friendly tax regime, which will not be a burden on the private sector, but more important, too, an incentive to production.
SO what has changed for us to be hearing that the Akufo-Addo administration intends to roll out some more taxes? Tax is one revenue-generating tool that governments employ to generate money to finance its expenditure. Without taxes, governments will indeed find it extremely difficult to run its business.
HOWEVER, it must be employed in a way that citizens would not be overburdened as well as companies.
THIS is where Today wants to advise the government on any intended plan(s) to introduce and increase existing taxes. We believe a broader consultation on the subject will help, especially when members of the opposition would also have their concerns addressed.
TAXES are good tools for development but they must not be applied in a way that will bring untold hardships to the citizenry.