North Tongu Member of Parliament Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has expressed his dismay at the decision by the Akufo-Addo administration to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) by 2.5 per cent.
According to the avid critic of the Akufo-Addo government, he is in disbelief over the increment of the VAT, something the current president led a demonstration against.
The Finance Minister has proposed in the 2023 budget presentation an increment in the VAT by 2.5 per cent.
The standard VAT rate is 12.5%, except for supplies of a wholesaler or retailer of goods, which are taxed at a total flat rate of 3%.
The proposal to increase the rate forms part of the seven point agenda to revitalize the economy, the Finance Minister told Parliament on Thursday November 24.
The seven-point agenda is ‘Aggressively mobilize domestic revenue; Streamline and rationalise expenditures; Boost local productive capacity; Promote and diversify exports; Protect the poor and vulnerable; Expand digital and climate-responsive physical infrastructure; and Implement structural and public sector reforms.’
He also announced that the government will undertake major structural reforms in the public sector.
Commenting on this in a tweet, Mr Ablakwa said “Who could ever have imagined or predicted that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who led the fatal 1995 Kumepreko demonstration against the introduction of VAT under President Rawlings which tragically claimed the lives of Ahunu Ahonga & 5 others would today be increasing VAT by 2.5%.
The government is projected to embark on aggressive revenue mobilization in 2023, a measure that seeks to corrects the fiscal imbalance and deficit.
Ghanaians Berate Bank Of Ghana After Announcement Of New GH¢1 Coin With Security Upgrades
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has announced an upgrade to the GH¢1 coin with some enhanced security features.
“The upgraded GH¢1 coin is bi-metallic with an outer gold and inner silver. The coin has a pronounced rough edge and incorporates a latent image, which appears in a rectangular form below the Scale of Justice at the back,” parts of a statement issued by the BoG read.
Ordinary, this announcement should be welcomed news to Ghanaians because it will help prevent fraud and help ensure that the country’s currency is secured.
But Ghanaians on social media are not taking the announcement of the new GH¢1 coin, which will be in circulation from Monday, December 12, 2022, well.
Some Tweeps have been questioning the time of the move by the BoG and the amount it might have cost the country, given the current economic hardships.
“Useless people, how much will this cost us huh? as for Nana Addo the least said about him the better,” one Twitter user wrote.
Some also said that the BOG should focus on stabilising the value of the Ghana cedi rather than issuing new currencies.
“Under Akufo Addo our currency has depreciated badly n he has introduced new denominations new features on our currency n wiping out some…what development paaa will this bring to the nation, of what benefit is this…Total waste,” another Ghanaian wrote.
View more reactions of Ghanaians to the BoG’s announcement below:
Government Might Have Over-Borrowed – John Kumah Admits
The Deputy Finance Minister, Dr John Kumah, has conceded that government might have over-borrowed in its quest to transform the economic fortunes of the country.
According to him, it is not wrong for a nation to accrue debt in its developmental journey, however, borrowing must be done judiciously.
When asked on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show to give an example of a flawed initiative of the government, Dr Kumah said, “Maybe the levels of borrowing have been too much and that could be one of the areas.”
“Maybe we should have looked at more alternatives at financing our various programmes but of course, every nation is built on debt, it is what you do with it and what happens [that matters],” he said on Monday.
In government’s defence, the Deputy Finance Minister said the borrowing was done in the interest of Ghana until Covid-19 sent all plans downhill.
“I know we are where we are because, if you borrowed in 2017, 2018 and 2019, $3 billion of investment each year and you were expecting the returns after 2020 and Covid-19 struck, and brought your economy to almost zero, it means that you are already in a very difficult situation.
“So this is the reality of what happened, it’s not like we borrowed and did things that didn’t benefit the country,” he said on Wednesday.
Ghana is currently experiencing a debt distress. This has forced the country to launch a Domestic Debt Exchange programme as a solution to the current economic woes, while it pursues a lifeline support from the IMF.
Commitment to Building Modern Railway Infrastructure Unwavering- President Akufo-Addo
President Akufo-Addo has stated that his administration’s commitment to building modern railway infrastructure across the length and breath of the country is unwavering and it remains a top priority of his administration.
He gave this assurance on Tuesday 6 December 2022, when he addressed the Chief, Elders and people of Afienya in the Greater Accra Region at the commissioning ceremony of the 900 meters road over bridge constructed as part of the construction of the Tema to Mpakadan railway line.
The Tema to Mpakadan railway line is a 97 km line which is the first section of the Ghana- Burkina Faso interconnectivity railway project.
“I want to reaffirm my commitment and determination to provide an enabling environment and support for the development of a modern r system that will not only benefit the current generation but also generations yet unborn.
“I would like to put on record that in the last five years of my administration, more construction activity in the railway sector has gone on than in any period since independence” President Akufo-Addo said.
“We have laid a solid foundation which will receive an even greater impetuous by the end of my tenure in 2025. My commitment to the development of a new modern standard railway network is unwavering” Akufo-Addo added.
Project completion timelines
In his address, President Akufo-Addo, noted that before attending the commissioning ceremony, he stopped over to inspect work on one of eight stopping points being constructed as part of the 97km Tema Mpakadan railway line.
He noted that the project consultant has assured him that the project will be completed by the first quarter of 2023 (March 2023).
“The project [Tema to Mpakadan railway line], will address the imbalance between transport routes for long distance transit and domestic freight movements from Accra-Tema Northwards and vise versa using the Volta lake transport system” President Akufo-Addo said.
“Not only will increase transit cargo volumes through the lake, but it will also expand domestic shipments to and from the lake and it will serve as a boost for agriculture enterprises within the environs of the lake” he added.
Poised to deliver
The Minister for Railway Development John Peter Amewu, in his brief statement noted that the Railways Ministry is poised to deliver railway infrastructure across the country for the use and benefit of the people of Ghana.
“This project is a clear witness of where the money government continues to borrow goes to.
“Government on its own generation its own resources but as a result of infrastructure deficit, it is necessary for government to look beyond and that is why government continues to borrow.
“Most of the borrowing undertaking by this government are borrowing that goes into development as we are witnessing” Peter Amewu said.
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