Taxes: Gov’t accused of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’

The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Samson Asaaki Awingobit, has expressed disappointment in the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, following his presentation of the mid-year budget review on Thursday, July 19, 2018.

According to Samson Asaaki Awingobit, the Finance Minister left parliamentarians in suspense since he did not explain and state the percentages of the levies that were indicated in his presentation.

Speaking on 3FM’s Sunrise on Wednesday, Mr Awingobit stated that in 2017 during the first mid-year budget presentation by Mr Ofori-Atta, Ghanaians were assured of an abolishment of certain taxes but barely a year after that he has announced a reversal and that move by the Finance Minister is one reason why he is saddened.

“You will come to Parliament and announce and when it comes to implementation, he changes his mind,” he said. “So, he will come to Parliament and say am giving you 1% and come back to take 3% so this is, robbing Peter to pay Paul that is what I describe [him] as.”

He mentioned that consumers are expected to pay more for quality and imported products due to the new Value Added Tax (VAT) implementation since business men would not absorb such pressure but will rather pass it on to the final consumers.

“If you were paying GH¢3 as Value Added Tax (VAT) to government, which has now shot up to GH¢6 and will now eat into your margin [and] you were buying something at GH¢10, you should be expected to pay GH¢15 and because the businessman will not allow his money to go down the drain, he or she would have to adjust by increasing the bar so that he will be able to get that money for the government and hence consumers will bear the cost,” he argued.

According to him, he is saddened and disappointed in the Finance Ministry and the government since they made utterances of abolishing nuisance taxes but are acting on their words.

He also said that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, makes a lot of announcements and at implementation changes his mind.

‘VAT will increase’

He went on to say that the Finance Minister mentioned in his review that levies would be charged on vehicles with engine capacities of 3.0 and now in the implementation statement, levies are charged on vehicles with engine capacities of 2.95.

Hence, this move by the government is because they have realized cars with engine capacities are few.

He accused the government of needing money and just resorting to adding to taxes to gain more.

“The government wants a pool of money, the more you add, the more the government makes money from it and I won’t be surprised if the next budget the Finance Minister would up the 12.5 VAT to another percentage.”

By Portia Gafah||Ghana

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