Dean of the School of Business at the University of Cape Coast, Prof. John Gatsi, has called the 2021 budget sentencing of Ghanaians to levies by the Akufo-Addo government which is scrambling to find money to plug the huge campaign spendings of the 2020 election.
In a write-up, he observes the “2021 budget full of revised austerity notes with bully taxes and levies.”
The budget which was presented by Acting Minister of Finance, Osei Kyei Mensa Bonsu introduced a raft of new taxes and levies including Sanitation and Pollution Tax (Bola Tax), Covid-19 Health Levy, Gaming Tax, Financial Sector clean up levy 5%.
Also, some already existing taxes and levies were increased, including the Road Toll, National Health Insurance Scheme Levy (1%), VAT flat rate 1%, and ESLA.
“In the past, successive governments introduced a national reconstruction levy on the profits of banks to help revamp the economy and fix the fiscal difficulties. That seemed to be a call on banks to sacrifice shareholders’ money for nation-building. Ghc21billion which was secured and spent on the exercise. why this after the exercise? This is a bully levy imposed on the banks which will translate into the cost of bank transactions,” Prof. Gatsi wrote.
“Everything that citizens can’t do without has been taxed and levied. These are trapped taxes as the elasticity of demand means citizens cannot do otherwise. Welcome bully levies welcome trapped taxes and welcome bola tax,” Gatsi stated.
According to him, “the 2021 budget is like what you expect in an era of austerity. The strategy is instead of being plain with citizens to tighten their belts, tell them this is the year of roads so we are increasing the road tolls, tell them we want to deal with their bola and health so bola tax and health tax.”
On the matter of the government’s claim that it has added less to the country’s debt in percentage terms than the previous NDC government, Prof. John Gatsi exposed the crooked theory as actually a cock and bull story in truth.
According to him, the numbers show clearly that the NPP has added more to Ghana’s debt stock than the NDC even though per the government’s convoluted percentage mathematics, the NDC supposedly added 144% to the tax burden while NPP has added 139%.