Ghanaians will continue to pay taxes if they get to know that the levies are being utilized prudently, Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for the West Africa, (MFWA) has said.
He explained that Ghanaians have over the years paid all manner of taxes to enable the government embark on developmental projects. However, he added, there is a general sense that the taxes are not being utilized properly.
His comments come after the introduction of some new taxes in the 2021 budget statement.
The government is proposing in the 2021 budget statement the introduction of a Covid-19 Health Levy of a one percentage point increase in the National Health Insurance Levy and a one percentage point increase in the VAT Flat Rate to support expenditures related to Covid-19.
“To provide the requisite resources to address these challenges and fund these activities, government is proposing the introduction of a Covid-19 Health Levy of a one percentage point increase in the National Health Insurance Levy and a one percentage point increase in the VAT Flat Rate to support expenditures related to Covid-19,” the budget statement presented by the leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said among other things on Friday March 12.
It added that “to leverage other resources to fight the pandemic, Government passed the COVID-19 National Trust Fund Act, (2020), Act 1013 in April, 2020 to establish the Fund. As at 31st December, 2020, the Fund had mobilised GH¢ 57,134,093.58 of which GH¢45,218,313.23 had been utilized.
“These resources complemented Government efforts in providing PPEs and medical supplies to COVID-19 selected institutions, distribution of food items to the aged, vulnerable, and needy persons; providing vehicles to selected Treatment Centres, National Public Health & Reference Laboratories, Testing Centres, and the COVID-19 Central Care Management Team. It also supported the construction of the National Infectious Disease Centre.”
The introduction of the taxes has attracted flak from a section of the Ghanaian public.
For instance, Lawmaker for Tamale North, Alhasan Suhuyini said the budget will worsen the condition of businesses in the country.
He said at a time Ghanaians and businesses are dealing with the negative impact of the coronavirus, the government has introduced taxes to, in his view, worsen their plight.
“The government introduced burdensome taxes on some companies already overburdened by COVID,” he said on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday March 13.
He added “There is the tax on sanitation that we are going to deal with. There is also the Covid levy for us to pay.
“How much more can one be insensitive? As a people we have already paid for Covid by the loved ones lost and by businesses that have been lost.”
Adding his voice to this in a twee, Mr Sulemana Braimah said “What the public detest is not the paying of taxes. What they detest is the looting of the taxes they pay.”
By Laud Nartey| 3news.com|Ghana