The Finance Committee of Parliament has said it does not expect new taxes in the yet-to-be-read 2020 national budget.
The Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah said the introduction of a new tax may burden the Ghanaian populace.
The New Juaben South MP, said, “I don’t think new taxes will be introduced. This is a listening government and I don’t think that any new taxes have been programmed in the budget.”
Dr. Assibey-Yeboah made this known while addressing journalists in Parliament on Thursday ahead of the 2020 budget presentation next week.
He also asked the Finance Minister to consider excluding earmarked funds such as the National Health Insurance Fund and the Road Fund from the capping Act.
This, according to Dr. Assibey-Yeboah, will address financial challenges facing the National Health Insurance Scheme.
A similar move for the Road Fund, he argued, will help fix roads in deplorable conditions.
“For me personally, I want to see the budget address issues relating to our roads, health insurance. Those are the two key issues that I want to see tackled. Left to me alone the road fund [and] the national health insurance fund should not be capped for 2020.”
“It will be huge if government decided not to cap the road fund and also the national health insurance fund. That will free up a lot of resources for these two agencies. Every budget cannot solve all the problems so for 2020 focus on roads and the health sector,” he said.
The MP further called for strict actions to prevent budget overruns in the election year.
He said the Finance Minister will be held liable should that happen.
“Why wouldn’t anybody want to adhere to an Act of Parliament? The Fiscal Responsibility Act is clear. It says that the deficit shall not exceed 5% in any given year.
There are sanctions in the law. The law says that if you exceed that target, then the Minister of Finance should be censured. Censuring the Minister of Finance means that Parliament has lost confidence in him. He cannot appear before the House. If a Minister is censured, essentially, he is fired.”
Speaking on why revenue targets have been missed for the past three years, Dr. Assibey-Yeboah attributed the development to ambitious targets set by government, indicating that although the targets have not been met, there has been a year on year increment in revenues over the period.
“By and large, revenues have increased year on year. Except that the targets have not been met. But you will have to factor in the fact that the targets were ambitious. And that’s what everybody will do. If you’re a finance Minister and you’re dealing with the revenue authority you set ambitious targets for them. So to the extent that revenues are increasing year on year, I think they are doing fine but we are just not meeting the targets, he said.