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2022 budget: Cut down extravagant, luxurious lifestyle of Akufo-Addo and unnecessary tax exemptions— Auditor to government

By Naabenyin Joojo Amissah
Politics 2022 budget: Cut down extravagant, luxurious lifestyle of Akufo-Addo and unnecessary tax exemptions— Auditor to government
NOV 19, 2021 LISTEN

An auditor and a former NDC parliamentary aspirant at Cape Coast South Constituency, Mr Thomas Hughes Amissah says government’s decision to tax mobile money transactions is a lazy approach.

According to Mr Amissah, who is a banker, the move defeats government’s popular slogan of “moving the economy from taxation to production.”

"Government must understand that broadening tax base is not just about increasing cost for existing cost bearers of the nation and therefore, must not tax momo," he stated.

In reaction to the 2022 budget presented by Mr Ken Ofori Atta, the Minister of Finance, Mr Amissah explained that the levy sharply contradicts assertions by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia's earlier statement that MoMo will not be taxed.

He is asking government to limit the comfort creature of President Akufo-Addo and cut down the expenditure of the Presidency to reflect the current economic conditions in the country.

"Rather, government must urgently cut down extravagant and luxurious life style which call for huge budget to the presidency and possibly, reverse the unnecessary tax exemptions," he stated.

Below is the full statement:

NO NEED FOR NEW OR INCREASE TAXES IN 2022- THOMAS HUGHES AMISSAH ( SKILLFUL)

The budget of 2022 presented by the President to the good people of Ghana should help address issues in 2022. However, it does not appear to be the answer to our woes and sufferings as it rather contains heavy taxes

One of the economic roles of taxation is to raise money to pay Government workers, create employment, provide infrastructure, and curb inflation among others

Unfortunately, in a desperate move to raise funds to resuscitate the ailing economy, government in a budget statement to parliament yesterday, introduced what has become known as e-levy where mobile money transactions will be taxed

As earlier quoted by vice president, Dr Bawumia who is also the head of the economic management team, it is not Godly to tax mobile money use because in his view, “A lot of the people who are using these transactions are very poor people”

In view of the wisdom of the head of the economic team, thus Dr Bawumia, as espoused above, it is still relevant to say that the sudden introduction of the e- levy tax is still not appropriate considering the current environment now.

We need revenue but it should be done in a smart way but not this approach of just taxing but that seemingly appears to be the only alternative available to the Govt to raise revenue.

What at all has happened to government proclamations to change the fortunes of the economy with a beautiful slogan to move Ghana’s economy from “nuisance taxation to production”?

As a matter of fact, the imposition of this e-levy tax would affect financial inclusion and that has the serious potential of affecting the revenue base of sectors like the banks and Telcos.

This tax, in effect, will potentially reduce volumes of interoperability transactions and lessons learned from Tanzania and Uganda should serve as a guide to us.

If the compensatory measure of removal of road toll is this momo tax, then we didn't think outside the box because the road toll is for a purpose and that purpose is still relevant.

We receive not less than 72million annually from road toll and if properly channelled, this should be able to solve most of the road issues we have at hand as a country.

Additionally, the automation of road toll can arguably rake in more than GHS 150million and that is a huge jump and further enhance our technology drive, after all technology should affect the revenue pot in a positive way.

Now, how do we reconcile the statement of Dr Bawumia that “we don't have to borrow from anywhere but just to toll roads” in order to get money? Sincerely, the current situation sharply contradicts the claims of Dr Bawumia

Or our Veep has ceased to be a member of the Economic Management team of this government? We feel scandalized because our Veep vehemently spoke against the taxing of momo in 2020 with one of his usual lectures

It, therefore, baffles the minds of many Ghanaians what has caused the sudden change in 2021 for him to go against his own words. Dear Veep, please are you actually the Head of Govt Economic Management team?

The simple fact is that government should not burden the already burdened Ghanaians with the introduction of the e-levy so as to raise an amount of GH₵ 6billion annually.

Rather, government must urgently cut down extravagant and luxurious life style which call for huge budget to the presidency and possibly, reverse the "unnecessary” tax exemptions.

Also, government must understand that broadening tax base is not just about increasing cost for existing cost bearers of the nation and therefore, must not tax momo.

As a citizen, I would like to assist the government with ideas to enable it to have a cure for the mismanaged economy so as to lessen the burden of the tax payer:

a) tax exemption and waivers granted to companies and individuals are more than the money we would get from the momo tax. There should not be a blanket freeze on exemptions and waivers but rather investors in crucial sectors can be considered and those exemptions should enjoy 25% of the total exemption or waiver. Between Jan 2018 to Feb 2019, tax waivers were in the region of $901 million

b) There should not be any new project till projects in the 2021 budgets are completed unless the new project is essential service in nature.

C) There should be a drastic cut in the expenditure of the Presidency to reflect our economic conditions now.

d) A relook at the use of IGF of various govt agencies.

e) A team to monitor budget projects to strictly ensure that there will be Value for Money as far as the execution of any project covered by the budget is concerned

In conclusion, we would achieve a lot from the above solutions in terms of revenue saving than the imposition of taxes to raise money.

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