Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie, MP for Effiduase-Asokore, believes that it is right for the Akufo-Addo-led government to impose taxes on the well to do in the society.
According to him, most rich people drive around with Landcruiser V8 with an engine capacity of 5.7 but the poor in the society commute with either motorbike or walk from one destination to another.
Dr Ayew Afriyie is of the view that Ghana can only go forward with taxation.
“Taxing the rich for the poor, what is wrong with that?” he quizzed. “You use a V8, you buy fuel; you carry engine litre 5.7, somebody somewhere uses a motorbike or does not even have a car in my village.”
The lawmaker told his colleague Parliamentarians that, African governments generally are thinking of taxation and therefore Ghana is no exception.
“Mr Speaker as I speak, Botswana we’re in the same social-economic bracket, they have moved in their budget of February VAT from 12% to 14%, Mr Speaker they have moved their withholding tax from 7.5%…, they have levied fuel and they have moved by 0.09 dollars. Mr Speaker, it’s not only them, lets traverse to the sub-Saharan region, Kenya is coming into line; go and look at their budget proposal, they are thinking about taxation,” he explained.
He added that South Africa is also charging exercise duty on alcohol and tobacco including plastic bags.
“Mr Speaker, what is wrong if Ghana does some near same? VAT 1%, NHIS 1%, the banks, look at the amount of money some of them repatriate from this country and somebody is going for 5%, and you’re arguing for some of those banks. We have to be more Ghanaian enough; we must love ourselves. If you do good, you do for yourself,” Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie stressed.
He accused the erstwhile NDC administration for causing the mess that the Akufo-Addo government intends to fix with the imposition of taxes on the citizenry.
“In any case, it is a temporary measure […] I’m worried why somebody will talk against this,” he stated.
The 2021 budget statement and economic policy of the government 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).
The government also introduced a financial sector clean-up levy of 5% on profit-before-tax of banks to help defray outstanding commitments in the sector.
Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, who presented the 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to Parliament last Friday in Accra on behalf of President Akufo-Addo, said this levy would be reviewed in 2024.
“The financial sector clean-up and the refund of monies to depositors have restored investor confidence and protected the hard-earned savings of millions of Ghanaians. However, this has come at a huge cost of over GH¢21.0 billion to the government,” he explained.