Minority Members in Parliament have been hit with excessive fear following the bold decisions that have been taken by the Akufo-Addo-led government in the maiden budget statement, Dr Anthony Akoto-Osei, Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation has said.
His comment follows the description of the 2017 budget by the Minority as a deceptive fiscal document.
On Thursday, 2 March, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta presented the financial statement to parliament.
He announced among other things, the scrapping of excise duty on petroleum products. The government also intends to reduce the special petroleum tax rate on petrol from 17.5% to 15%.
Other taxes that will be completely abolished include the following:
- The 1% special import levy
- The 17.5% VAT on financial services
- The 17.5% VAT on selected imported medicines not produced locally
- The 17.5% VAT on domestic airline tickets
- The 5% VAT on real estate sales
- Duty on importation of spare parts
Also, the 17.5% VAT imposed on traders has been replaced with a 3% flat rate, while businesses that employ young graduates from tertiary institutions will get tax credits and other incentives. Furthermore, there will be tax incentives for young entrepreneurs while the Corporate Income Tax will be progressively reduced from 25% to 20% in 2018.
Additionally, Mr Ofori-Atta said the Akufo-Addo government will initiate steps to remove import duties on raw materials and machinery for production.
However, Dr Benjamin Kumbour, a former member of parliament for Nandom, speaking in an interview with Class91.3FM’s Paa Kwesi Parker-Wilson, just after the Finance Minister’s presentation, said: “I don’t believe we need to start christening children that are not yet born. What we have now are proposals and we will get to the substance of it later. But I want it to be on record that there is no national tax on kayayei for it to be a subject of comment.”
“Secondly, let us be very clear in our minds that there is no electrification levy. We used to have an electrification levy that was about 0.004 per cent that has since been scrapped, and, so, if you claim that you are removing the electrification levy, then it doesn’t exist.”
Reacting to those criticisms in an interview with Emefa Apawu on Class 91.3FM’s 505 programme on Thursday, 2 March, Dr Akoto-Osei said: “I think they are frightened that we are able to deliver on our promises. The budget has frightened them. How we are able do it is the difference between us and them.”
“That is why we keep saying there is a difference in the style of economic management plans between us. They are just frightened. They know they have sent the country into a bad state and they don’t think we could come out of it. But we have been innovative enough, we are implementing our promises and the economy is going to be back on growth path.”