Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta lied to the people of Ghana when he said no new tax was introduced in the 2020 budget, the Ranking Member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, has said.
The opposition MP for Ajumako Enyan Essiam told Felicity Nelson on Class91.3FM’s Straight Talk on Thursday, 14 November 2019 that the extension of the Special Import Levy as announced by Mr Ofori-Atta on Wednesday in the budget, is a new tax that has been introduced.
“This is a Minister of Finance who informed all of us that this budget has no new tax. He has told us a big fat lie”, Mr Forson said, adding: “… And I was surprised that he could gather that courage to say they have delivered their promise from moving away from taxation to production. Their moving from taxation to production has been very unproductive”.
“In yesterday’s budget, after the minister has told all of us that there is no new tax, he nicodemously hid something in the budget statement and said to all of us that they are going to extend the Special Import Levy.”
When the host clarified to him that it was an extension of an existing levy rather than a fresh introduction of a new one, Mr Forson retorted: “Unfortunately, in taxation it doesn’t work like that.”
“That tax has a sunset clause that it expires in 2019. Today, Parliament is going to sit and approve the imposition of this tax, whether extension or not.”
Latching on a gaffe in the budget to drive home his point further, Mr Forson said: “The minister says with the fertiliser subsidy, they have reached 880 billion people. We live in a country with a population of 30 million people and now we have reached 880 billion people out of your fertiliser subsidy? What is this? … You do not need a soothsayer to tell you that what they said is lie. It is a blunt lie. Everybody knows he [Ofori-Atta] is liar. Consistently he has been saying things that are contestable. In the budget statement, he said they have been able to reach 880 billion people”.