Government has called on Ghanaians for support in order to succeed with its post-COVID-19 recovery plans.
According to Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the introduction of fresh tax measures by government is necessary to revamp and salvage the economy from the claws of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is fair for people to focus on the tax measures and ask questions about it. But this budget does not only introduce these revenue measures. The revenue measures are necessary because we are at a fiscal deficit of 11 to almost 12%. Debt to GDP is around 70%, in nominal terms 291 billion cedis.
“The option any government will have under these circumstances are to find creative ways of raising revenue and gradually bring back the debt and deficit to a more responsible position. There are a multiplicity of reasons for which we are here. Key among them is the COVID challenges that we are in now. If you look at what COVID has done, it has moved us from 5% to 11% and extra 6% of GDP,” he told Joy News on Monday.
Government through the 2021 budget statement and economic policy proposed new taxes on petroleum products, 1% COVID-19 Health Levy on VAT Flat Rate Scheme and 1% on the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) as part of revenue measures to help the economy recover from the effects of the global pandemic.
However, responding to concerns on the proposed new taxes, the Minister explained that it is to help the country recover from the financial setbacks occasioned by the pandemic.
“So we cannot escape the fact that we have to share the burden at this point in time. The real focus for me is that we gather around holding government accountable for using the money for that which it claims it is going to use it for. If you are going to increase road tolls, if all of us are going to see an improvement in the road conditions, the road contractors are been paid, they are finishing the road projects on which they are, I am not sure we will worry as much as we worry today,” he added.