Deputy Finance Minister defends three new tax bills

0

Abena Osei Asare, the Deputy Minister of Finance, has provided justification for the upcoming tax bills before Parliament.

She insists that the new tax bills are absolutely necessary to support the government’s revenue mobilization strategy for revitalizing the ailing economy.

Today, March 23, Parliament will vote on the Growth and Sustainability Levy Bill, the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill, and the Excise Tax Stamp (Amendment) Bill.

The Board’s approval of the $3 billion staff-level agreement for the IMF Programme will be made easier if these pending revenue mobilization bills are approved.

Abena Osei Asare stated on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday that the government will be able to provide assistance to vulnerable individuals who have been severely impacted by the effects of Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war if the new bills are approved by Parliament.

“This is to help the economy get back on track and put into action the plan to help the vulnerable who have been hard hit by Covid-19 and the war between Russia and Ukraine. We believe that if we raise some money, we can use some of it to help the vulnerable who have been hit hard because we are raising money. However, we must also consider the vulnerable who have been hit hard.

The deputy finance minister continued, “As a country, we need to mobilize our own domestic revenue to pursue our own national development agenda, so these are some of the things we can do to raise revenue.” The passage of the three bills is also required for the successful implementation of the budget and for intensifying efforts to raise tax-to-GDP from less than 13% to the sub-Saharan average of 18%. The MP for Atiwa East told host Bernard Avle, “If you compare the revenue we raise to our GDP, we are still far below the West African target of below 16 to 18 percent. We are still doing 13 percent, so there is more that we feel we can do.”

The government has completed tariff adjustment by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), the publication of the Auditor-General’s Report on COVID-19 spending, and the onboarding of Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), and Road Fund on Ghana integrated financial management information system (GIFMIS) as part of measures to meet the IMF’s requirements for a bailout.

The government must rely on Treasury Bills and concessional loans as the primary sources of financing for the 2023 fiscal year because the international and domestic bond markets are closed.

Consequently, Parliament’s consideration and approval of fiscal measures are essential for overcoming the current economic crisis.