Government has indicated that for its post-COVID-19 economy recovery plan to succeed, it needs adequate support from Ghanaians.
Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah made the appeal on Joynews’s PM express program on Monday 15th March 2021 while contributing to a discussion on the 2021 Budget Statement.
According to him, the introduction of fresh tax measures by government is creative and necessary to revamp and salvage the economy from the claws of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is fair for people to focus on the tax measures and ask questions about it. But this budget does not only introduce these revenue measures. The revenue measures are necessary because we are at a fiscal deficit of 11 to almost 12%. Debt to GDP is around 70%, in nominal terms 291 billion cedis.
“The option any government will have under these circumstances are to find creative ways of raising revenue and gradually bring back the debt and deficit to a more responsible position. There are a multiplicity of reasons for which we are here. Key among them is the COVID challenges that we are in now. If you look at what COVID has done, it has moved us from 5% to 11% and extra 6% of GDP,” he said.
Government through the 2021 budget statement and economic policy proposed new taxes on petroleum products, 1% COVID-19 Health Levy on VAT Flat Rate Scheme and 1% on the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) as part of revenue measures to help the economy recover from the effects of the global pandemic.
However, responding to the proposed new taxes, the Minister explained that it is to help the country recover from the setback and get the economy back to its previous state. He said for government to be able to succeed in its plan to recover the economy, it needs adequate buy-in from Ghanaians.
“So we cannot escape the fact that we have to share the burden at this point in time. The real focus for me is that we gather around holding the government accountable for using the money for that which it claims it is going to use it for. If you are going to increase road tolls, if all of us are going to see an improvement in the road conditions, the road contractors are being paid, they are finishing the road projects on which they are, I am not sure we will worry as much as we worry today,” he added.