No to nuisance taxes

By Daily Guide
Editorial Ken Ofori-Atta
FEB 5, 2024 LISTEN
Ken Ofori-Atta

Ghanaians of all walks of life regardless of political persuasions want some relief from the economic burden exacerbated by COVID- 19 and the Russia/ Ukraine war.

Those who are grateful acknowledge how the government has managed the economy so far to ensure the uninterrupted running of all public services and the payment of salaries to public servants. In some jurisdictions, the effects of those global challenges led to the laying off of workers in both private and public sectors.

Ghana, despite our challenges, escaped such harsh realities. Nonetheless, the fact that we have “turned that corner” does not mean we must suffocate under these nuisance taxes.

Mr. President, do not allow your men and women to reintroduce nuisance taxes you spoke against in 2016. Whatever the conditions in the national coffers, the buck stops on your desk in the Jubilee House and we urge you to do something now to put the smiles back on the people, including organised labour and drivers.

The signals coming from your own political party indicate that NPP supporters too are unhappy about VAT on electricity tariffs and emission levy.

Mr. President, if intelligence sources have not briefed you yet about the level of anger about those taxes, we dare say that it has made your government very unpopular.

There is even a perception out there that a so-called Mafia does not want Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia to break the eight.

The Finance Minister has never missed the opportunity to quote the Bible to give hope to Ghanaians during these trying times.

In this case, we remind him of the Scriptures in Matthew that said, ” which of your fathers, if your son asks for fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion.”

Mr. Finance Minister, at this stage of our development, our people do not need interventions that would suffocate them but help ease their burden and reduce the cost of doing business.

Excessive taxes and indeed nuisance taxes would not stimulate productivity to bring the Ghanaian economy to the level of being the fastest growing economy in Africa. Again we dare say that imposition of many taxes on the people is the laziest approach to fixing the economy.

Mr. Finance Minister, from 2017 to 2020, you led the economy team to change the narratives. What stops you from keeping to those strategies rather than allow the government to be misled that E-Levy, VAT on electricity tariffs and emission levy hold the key to our economic salvation.

If it is an IMF prescription, tell them the people can no longer endure more taxes. These steps are security risks and Mr. President must take action to set them aside as soon as possible to ease the tension and avoid disaffection for the NPP government, especially the engagement of Vice President Bawumia. We pick signals that Mr. President you are meeting your men and women to take another look at those taxes. Organised labour has rejected VAT on electricity tariffs and driver unions are opposed to the payment of the emission levy.

The NPP government prides itself as a listening government. Mr. President, listen to the war drums and act accordingly to sustain the industrial harmony in the country.

E Levy, VAT on electricity tariffs and emission levy are misconceived. Ghanaians are not in the mood to pay such taxes. We urge the government to scrap them now to avoid any showdown with Organised Labour. Indeed, some of the policies of the government in this election year are needless as it appears there is pressure on the government to defend its achievements. In the melee, the government is scoring own goals to hand over victory to an unprepared and vision-less NDC and its leader, John Mahama.

The time is now for the teeming supporters to stop the government from derailing the mantra to break the eight.

Any obstacle on the way must be met with the force of a tsunami. Ghanaians say a Big No to nuisance taxes again, be it from Ken Ofori-Atta. A word to the wise is directed at the corridors of the Ministry of Finance.