The Acting General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union, Morgan Ayawine, has expressed concern over proposed taxes by government.
According to him, the taxes in the 2021 budget presentation will only worsen the status of workers. The Union is also of the view that, emergence of COVID-19 has already led to job losses.
Mr. Ayawine explained that the proposed taxes are unavoidable. However, the number of taxes imposed on the citizens of the country is worrying.
“Tax is not something the citizenry can avoid. But our concern has to do with the number of taxes introduced at a time”.
Mr Ayawine further questioned government’s motive for introducing such taxes. Especially at a time when the pandemic has affected Ghanaian workers.
“One would’ve thought that we should be working to reduce the number of taxes in the country to bring relief to the citizenry but not to overburden us with new taxes”.
Ghanaians express chagrin over proposed taxes
Several groups and individuals have also described as untimely and insensitive the introduction of the new taxes but government.
The groups remained resolute on the ambivalence to the budget, although government insist that it will provide reliefs to Ghanaians.
Government through the 2021 budget has introduced four new levies and increased other existing ones.
The new levies include COVID-19 health levy, petroleum levy, sanitation and pollution levy as well as financial sector clean-up levy.
Some of the proposed taxes in the budget were widely criticised by observers and various stakeholders. There were concerns about the price of fuel, among others, after the proposed a 5.7 percent increment in prices of petrol and diesel as part of new levies.
The increment will be as a result of the new 10-pesewa Sanitation and Pollution Levy as well as a 20-pesewa levy to cater for charges on the country’s excess power capacity.
Direct tax measures in the budget included introducing a 5 percent financial sector clean-up levy. The 30 percent income tax rebates for companies operating in the hospitality, also featured prominently.
Also, the suspension of instalment income tax stamp and vehicle income tax payments from April to December 2021. But the indirect tax measures courted more controversy.
Parliament approves 2021 budget
Meanwhile, Parliament has approved the 2021 budget after a vote.
During the voting, 137 MPs were in favour of approving the budget as against 134 MPs voting against the budget.
The Minority earlier rejected the outcome of the voice vote after calling for the rejection of the budget due to its tax component.
The Speaker granted the application of the Minority for a headcount amid controversy on the Floor.
Second Deputy Speaker, Joe Osei-Owusu, supervised the voice vote before the arrival of the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin.
Prior to this, Finance Minister-nominee, Ken Ofori Atta, has revealed that these taxes would be necessary for funding the coronavirus vaccine rollout as well as health infrastructure.
The Fitch Ratings in its assessment also said the slow pace of the consolidation path outlined by the budget statement and by the accompanying medium-term fiscal framework leaves Ghana exposed to a heavy debt-service burden and risks of fiscal slippage.