The Minister-designate for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has refuted claims that Ghanaian taxpayers are worse-off today because the Akufo-Addo-led administration has imposed so many taxes on them.
Responding to questions before the Appointments Committee of Parliament, on Friday, on the second-day of his vetting, Mr Ofori-Atta stated that a critical analysis of the taxes abolished during the first term of the New Patriotic Party administration showed that taxpayers were better off now than under the previous National Democratic Congress administration.
“When you look at the taxes we abolished, reduction in electricity and what we have done during this COVID-19 era, clearly on a net bases we have not really hurt the Ghanaian taxpayer, if you compare us to the previous government,” he emphasised.
He said Ghana’s economy and fiscal health was better in 2019 than in 2016.
“For the past four years, the economy has grown, social protection for the vulnerable has been increased, and the conditions of people have been made better, by the grace of God,” he stated.
On corruption, Mr Ofori-Atta said he believed that the Akufo-Addo-led administration had been strong in fighting corruption, increased allocation to all anti-corruption governance institutions and had been firm in protecting the public purse.
“We have also been strong in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and adding value to our economy in our commitment to transforming Ghana,” he added.
In the next four years, the renominated Finance Minister said, he would focus on three key areas – mobilisation of more revenues under property tax, tax exemption and digitisation.
He called for the adoption of positive behaviour towards the realisation of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
Mr Ofori-Atta announced that some funds had been released for the National Unemployment Insurance Scheme to be rolled out.
Additionally, some funds had been released to the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to make funding for agriculture sustainable.
The leadership of the Appointments Committee asked Mr Ofori-Atta series of questions regarding his family relations, business interests, banking sector cleanup, the Agyapa Royalties Transactions, among others.
The vetting of Mr Ofori-Atta, who returned last Saturday from the United States, where he sought medical attention for COVID-19 complications, was adjourned yesterday after about six hours.