Following the government’s announcement of an increase in some taxes and the introduction of new ones, coupled with the level of economic hardship in the country, some Ghanaians have taken to social media to register their sentiments about the government of the day.
Interim Finance Minister, Simon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu last week presented the 2021 fiscal budget in Parliament, and details of the budget revealed a list of new tax policies and revisions of existing ones.
The taxes include a one percentage point increase in the National Health Insurance Levy and a one percentage point increase in the VAT Flat Rate. An Energy Sector Recovery Levy of 20 pesewas per litre on the price of petrol and diesel. A Sanitation and Pollution Levy of 10 pesewas per litre of petrol and diesel.
Revision of road tolls, financial sector clean-up levy of 5% on profit-before-tax on banks, and an introduction of a new gaming policy.
According to the interim Minister, the purpose of the taxes is to enable government support expenditures related to COVID-19.
The government has also explained that the taxes will help it recover the cost of what was described as among other things, “free water and electricity” that Ghanaians have enjoyed since March 2020.
Having heard the purpose of the new taxes and the cumulating hardships they are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some Ghanaians have taken to microblogging social media site, Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with the development using the hashtag #SpeakUpGhana.
For some, the situation is a classical example of deception as the government had on several occasions touted the absorption of water and electricity bills as a gift to Ghanaians in a period of pandemic and hardship.
For many, the government only sought to use it as an opportunity to win the 2020 election and has thus found a reason to call out the government for not being sensitive to the plight of Ghanaians especially during the pandemic.
Others are also using the hashtag to voice out other concerns which they see to be contributing to the level of hardship in the country.
Read some tweets on the #SpeakUpGhana below:
Those who drink this water will also pay for the free water.
Let’s speak up for a better Ghana