Former Minister for Finance, Seth Terkper, has chided government for introducing new taxes in the 2021 Budget Statement despite heavily criticizing the erstwhile John Mahama government for doing same.
The current administration prior to coming into government in 2017, strongly criticized the then NDC government over the introduction of taxes stating the taxes were burdening the Ghanaian citizenry.
On the assumption of power, the current administration repealed a total of 17 taxes describing them as ‘nuisance taxes.’
But speaking in an interview monitored by norvanreports, the former Finance Minister stating that he is not against government’s introduction of new taxes, he is however, surprised at the move given the fact that government when in opposition made taxes introduced by the John Mahama government to increase revenue to tackle financing challenges seem irrelevant.
Adding the current government has resorted to more taxes than previously experienced.
“I am not against the revision and subsequent introduction of new taxes by government to raise revenue as it has become necessary to do so given the country’s high fiscal deficits and unsustainable debt situation, but for the current government to resort to more taxation than previously experienced during the Covid crisis when prior to coming into office described as ‘nuisance’ taxes implemented by the NDC government to resolve the power crisis (Dumsor).”
“I am not blaming government for resorting to taxation because they are all austerity measures, for the 18 IMF programmes that the country has gone through, we have always used a combination of tax and expenditure management, debt management, borrowing and real sector rehabilitation, that’s the mix and it’s normal. But my point is that in past crisis and in which players in the current administration participated but then turned around to belittle the use of taxes for instance through the ESLA which is by the way the foundation for payment of energy costs and bank bailout costs through the ESLA bonds, and for them to come into government and make Ghanaians believe that you can manage a crisis without resorting to taxation, critique some of the taxes and christen them as nuisance taxes and make them seem irrelevant,” Mr Terkper stated.
“When you present that type of situation as non-performance, as not being able to be innovative and then you come and no matter the severity of the crisis and despite the loans acquired and by the way this is the first administration to have loans specifically targeting a crisis, and then on top of the fortunes of 3 oil fields you now resort to more taxation than was even previously experienced,” he argued.
Government in the 2021 Budget introduced a number of new taxes. The taxes include; 1% VAT health levy (Covid-19 health levy), sanitation and pollution levy, energy sector recovery levy (Delta Fund), road tolls and the 5% financial sector clean-up levy.