by George Nyavor
Ahead of the 2019 budget presentation in Parliament on Thursday, November 15, the Minority is predicting that the government will introduce new taxes.
These new taxes, according to the Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, will be the Finance Ministry's solution to bridging the gaping fiscal deficit.
“We know that government will introduce some form of tax. Obviously, the tax will happen because of the fiscal gap. Looking at the kind of expenditure that this government wants to heap on the economy and looking at the revenue -- already the revenue is not doing well and the fact that they want to do a fiscal deficit not exceeding 5% -- there is certainly a fiscal gap.
"How do you close that fiscal gap? You have to introduce a tax measure,” Mr Forson said on Top Story on Joy FM, Tuesday.
The Minority made a similar prediction a few days to the presentation of the 2018 Mid-Year Budget Review in July this year.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) legislators had predicted that government will increase taxes to fund its revenue-guzzling policies.
According to them, the "populist policies" that were introduced and trumpeted in the lead up to the 2016 elections to bring the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to power will make their prediction inevitable.
That prediction came to pass partially when the government restructured the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate, introduces the Luxury Vehicle Tax and introduced an income tax of 35 per cent on persons earning more than GH¢10,000.
Signs on the wall
Despite rife speculations that the 2019 budget will see the introduction of taxes on mobile money transactions, the Finance Ministry gave a firm assurance that the government has no such plans.
According to Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng, mobile money transactions have become government’s ‘best bet’ for achieving financial inclusion in the country.
“Government has no plans to introduce a tax on MoMo in the next budget…if there’s any such intent in future, I’ll make sure the balance is right,” he said.
The tax on mobile money transaction is the only one that has been expressly predicted by speculators and economic analysts and swiftly debunked by the government.
However, speaking on Top Story, Cassiel Ato Forson, who is a Ranking Member on Parliaments Finance Committee said there are signs on the wall that government will introduce some taxes.
According to him, the government has no options than to pile more taxes on Ghanaians.
“If you look at the options available, the reason why they may have to introduce a new tax is two: The first is that they will need a tax-handle to able to pay for their expenditure for some of their flagship projects; the second will be that they needed some money to able to deal with the financial sector troubles. So they will introduce a tax obviously to care of these two items. And so we expect it,” he said.
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