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Reject tax increment in 2019 mid-year budget – Jinapor

A former deputy minister of Energy and Petroleum John Jinapor is rallying Ghanaians to reject any tax increment in the 2019 Mid-year budget review on Monday.

According to him, the move will lead to unbearable hardships on Ghanaians.

The finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta is expected to present the 2019 Mid-year budget review in Parliament on July 29, 2019. Speculations making rounds indicate the government is likely to introduce or increase taxes.

“Innocent Ghanaians should not be made to shoulder the consequences of poor policy decision from the NPP government especially coming on the heels of the recent Electricity and water tariff increment.

“I therefore wish to serve notice to government that we will not countenance any attempt to increase the specific levies or change it from specific to ad-valorem or whatever name they may choose to call it. Indeed, the time has come to send a clear and unambiguous signal to President Akuffo-Addo and his Government  that we shall use whatever legitimate means possible, both in and out of parliament to resist any attempt to further burden the Citizenry with any Tax increment. The quagmire we find ourselves in as a nation presently is self inflicted and responsibility should not be shoved off to the already burdened citizens,” Jinapor said in a statement.

Below is the full statement:

UPWARD TAX INCREMENT WILL LEAD TO UNBEARABLE HARDSHIPS FOR GHANAIANS – JOHN JINAPOR

Ghanaians must totally reject any further Tax increases from the Akufo-Addo-led NPP Government in the 2019 Mid-year budget review expected to be presented to the nation on Monday, July 29th.

It will be recalled that in the lead up to the 2016 general elections, the NPP under then candidate Akufo-Addo made a promise to scrap the Energy Sector Levy if voted into power.

Since assuming political office close to three years, not only have the levies remained, but revenues accruing to the fund has been grossly misappropriated and managed in the most abysmal manner.

For instance out of the over GH¢1.3 billion realised from the 2018 Road Fund Levy as captured in the 2018 ESLA (Energy Sector Levy Account) Report, only GH¢685.50 million was released for road-related expenditure while the rest went into other non-road-related activities.

As if this was not enough, the Minister of Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta has so far failed to account for over GH¢250 million from the total collection of GH¢3.1 billion as captured in the 2017 ESLA Revenues Account.

From the records, this Government has realised more than GH¢6 billion from the Energy Sector Levies since assuming office and projecting to collect an additional GH¢3.9 billion for the 2019 financial year.

As a result of mismanagement of this levy, the Deputy Minister of Finance Mr. Charles Adu Boahen recently hinted during the debate on ANNUAL REPORT ON THE ENERGY SECTOR LEVIES AND ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR 2018 in parliament, the intention of the Akufo-Addo government to do the following:

  1. Increase the specific ESLA Levies or
  2. Convert the Specific Levy to Ad-valorem

The Minister for Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah whiles addressing Journalists in Accra also stated that the mid-year budget review will afford government the opportunity to take a second look at revenue mobilization as highlighted in the 2019 budget.

Obviously, having failed to achieve anything substantial in the infrastructure sector despite all the revenue and loans contracted since 2017, the NPP government has adopted a sinister plan of subtly preparing the minds of Ghanaians for tax increases and further burden the ordinary Ghanaian, knowing very well the people will resist and revolt against any further imposition of hardship on them.

The abysmal record of this government in the infrastructure sector can only be as a result of bad policy decisions and poor management of the Nation’s resources.

It will be recalled that this same Government against caution from industry experts and stakeholders decided to pursue a populist but unwise decision by usurping the functions of the PURC with some deceptive claims of a so-called 17% Tariff reductions which eventually turned out to be a ruse.

The poor management of the economy has also culminated in a sharp decline of the Cedi against the United States Dollar and other foreign trading currencies in recent months leading to a very poor financial state of the Energy Sector Agencies.

Innocent Ghanaians should not be made to shoulder the consequences of poor policy decision from the NPP government especially coming on the heels of the recent Electricity and water tariff increment.

I therefore wish to serve notice to government that we will not countenance any attempt to increase the specific levies or change it from specific to ad-valorem or whatever name they may choose to call it. Indeed, the time has come to send a clear and unambiguous signal to President Akufo-Addo and his Government  that we shall use whatever legitimate means possible, both in and out of parliament to resist any attempt to further burden the Citizenry with any Tax increment. The quagmire we find ourselves in as a nation presently is self inflicted and responsibility should not be shoved off to the already burdened citizens.

God bless our homeland Ghana

Thank you.

John Abdulai Jinapor

Former Deputy Minister of Energy and Petroleum

Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh

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