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General News of Thursday, 19 July 2018

Source: adomonline.com

Make tax payment pre-requisite for becoming Free SHS beneficiary – Steve Manteaw

Campaign Coordinator of ISODEC, Dr Steve Manteaw, has proposed to government to make tax payment a prerequisite for qualifying as a beneficiary of Free Senior High School policy.

“People should be made to show their tax payment to qualify for the Free SHS and this will encourage those in the informal sector to pay taxes”, Dr Manteaw proposed.

According to him, the challenges emerging from the Free SHS implementation are self-inflicting and avoidable.

He blames the increased cost of bureaucracy which includes but not limited to the 110 ministers and creation of many deputy director positions in state enterprises has equally added to the problem.

The ISODEC man made these on Adom FM’s current affairs programme, Burning Issues with host Afia Pokua.

Meanwhile, the Founder and president of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe also speaking on the same show, has likened Ghana’s Free SHS Policy to polio vaccination, saying it lacks proper roll-out mechanism. According to him, proper checks were not conducted before the implementation of the policy which is now syphoning the economy.

These comments come on the background of rumours that made headlines about government’s decision to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) from 17.5 per cent to 21 per cent in its mid-year budget review to finance Free SHS.

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The Minority in Parliament has earlier raised red flags about the rumours and warned government to be wary of burdening Ghanaians in its desperation to save face, adding that the fiscal problem is a direct result of shallow opportunism and populism.

Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, who read the release by the minority said the electoral promises made by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) during the 2016 elections were intended only to get them elected and convey an impression of fidelity.

“The reality, however, is that it has led to a major problem for the economy which has translated into severe hardship for the generality of our people,” Mr Ato Forson said.

The IMANI president asserts that government adopted a poor approach in implementing the policy without a proper background check to ascertain those who could genuinely pay their wards’ fees and those who cannot.

He reiterated that Free SHS is collapsing the economy and government needs to redefine the entirety of the policy to devise means of raising funds to support it rather than thinking of increasing taxes to fund it.

Mr Cudjoe further alleges “If we cancel the Kelni-GVG contract, we can have a free 300 million Ghana cedis to do other things even if it’s not the Free SHS”

He says the NDC and NPP governments raised 338 and 328 million Ghana cedis from Service Communication Tax in 2016 and 2017 respectively which the Ministry of Communications wants to dissipate thereby influencing their fishy contract with Kelni-GVG.