In a blatant slap on the faces of Ghanaians, the Akufo Addo administration has given Members of Parliament and Council of State members a staggering US$ 13.3 in tax waivers over the US$ 32 million being splashed on them to buy themselves super luxury cars at the expense of angry Ghanaian taxpayers.
Already, the government is footing the bill amounting to over 60% of the vehicle loan extended to lawmakers and the Council of State members. The tax waivers virtually means they are getting the luxury cars for free and at the expense of taxpayers who have been told by the Akufo Addo administration to “tighten their belts” because of COVID-related economic downturn.
These tax-waivers were presented to the Ghanaian Parliament for approval as contained in their Order Paper today.
The 30 odd Council of State members are getting $3.5 million for their luxury vehicles, while the 275 overfed MPs are getting $28 million. Each of the vehicles will cost a staggering US$ 100,000 each.
The Order Paper was laid before the house by the Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Ebenezer Kojo Kum, on behalf of the Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.
“Request for waiver of the Import Duty, Import GETFund Levy, Import NHIL, Import VAT, EXIM levy, COVID-19 Recovery Levy, Special Import Levy, ECOWAS Levy, AU Levy, Inspection Fees, and Withholding Tax (ITS Tax Deposit) amounting to the Ghana Cedi equivalent of thirteen million, three hundred and eighty-seven thousand, five hundred United States Dollars (US$13,387,500.00) on vehicles to be procured for Members of Parliament of the Eighth Parliament of Ghana (2021-2024) and the Members of the Eighth Council of State (2022-2024),” the paper read.
The entire country had exploded in exasperated anger when the Finance Minister announced that it was seeking a loan to purchase vehicles for the lawmakers, particularly when it was coming on the heels of inexplicable expenditures and corrupt scandals from officials of the government.
The government had claimed it was financially constrained because of the economic downturns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has since instituted austerity measures and had asked citizens to “tighten their belts” to weather the challenging period.
However, at the same time, this economic prescription was being handed to the citizens, the Akufo Addo administration had refused to cut down on expenditure that personally benefits his officials and the lawmakers in Parliament.
The President recently chartered one of the world’s most expensive jet planes on a nine-day trip to Europe and South Africa. The flight cost over US$ 15,000 per hour.
When questioned, spokespersons of the government claimed the President had to charter the gold-plated aircraft because it had an on-board bathroom that the President loves.
Meanwhile, the Finance Committee has recommended to the House to discontinue the practice where government facilitates loans for MPs and Council of state members to purchase cars for official duties.
This was captured in the report of the Finance Committee on the two loan agreements, sighted by Citi News.
There has been a huge public backlash about the loans amidst the economic challenges in the country.