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General News of Monday, 18 November 2019

Source: Prime News Ghana

'You've taken more than you've placed in the pockets of Ghanaians' - Ato Forson tells govt

Minority spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson says the government has taken more from Ghanaians through taxes and levies than what they claimed to have placed in the pockets of Ghanaians.

Speaking on the floor of parliament during the 2020 budget debate on Monday, November 18, 2019, Cassiel Ato Forson said the government has taken about 19 billion Cedis from the pocket of Ghanaians as against the 12 billion government said it has placed in their pockets.

Finance Minister last week during the 2020 budget presentation said the government has directly or indirectly placed an amount of 12.2 billion cedis into the pockets of many Ghanaians since 2017 through its major initiatives and social interventions.

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta disclosed that the Free SHS policy has saved parents a total of 1.8 billion cedis over the last three years.

Planting for Food and Jobs has saved farmers a total of 844 million cedis over the last three years for subsidized fertilizer and a total of 357 million cedis have been put in the pockets of teacher trainees within the last three years in the form of an allowance.

He said nursing trainees have also received a total of 336million cedis in the form of an allowance within the last three years while the government continues to subsidize for the BECE registration fee which has saved parents a total of 65 million cedis over the last two years.

Mr. Ofori Atta further mentioned that the electricity tariffs reductions effected by the PURC effective March 15, 2018, resulted in savings of 1.8billion cedis for a year for residential and non-residential customers which is money in the pockets of many Ghanaians.

But responding to the claims made by the Finance Minister, Cassiel Ato Forson said, " Yes, the Minister for Finance may have given some moeny to the ordinary Ghanaian as he listed on Free SHS and others, one will also need to subject this to critical analysis and prove, Mr. Speaker over the period it is an undeniable fact that this administration ones again has taken money from peoples pocket throught taxes and levies, Mr Speaker let me give you some numbers, the Minister for Finance said in removing taxes he has actually placed money into peoples pockets, but let me tell you the number of taxes and levies he has imposed over the period, recently our Minister of Finance decided to introduce the luxury vehicle tax, the luxury vehicle tax acumulated an amount of 60.6 million Ghana Cedis, that money is from peoples pocket, the Minister decided to extend the fiscal stabilization levy and the special import levy, from the period of 2017 to 2019, revenue accumulation is about 400 million Ghana Cedis, apart from that recently the goverement decided to introduce the Communication Service Tax by increasing by 50% so far we have seen an increase in revenue by 107 million Ghana Cedis, Mr Speaker it will surprise you to note that by nearly decoupling the National Health Inssurance Levy from the Value Added Tax has increased the taxes ordinary Ghanaians pay, an amount 2.6 billion has been accumulated, fuel price increase and clearly you can look at this throught the volume of fuel that we consume as against the volume that they used to consume and the price changed, so far they have taken 5 billion Cedis from Ghanaians, transport fare also accumulated 1 billion, if we are to add all these numbers our Minister of Finance has taken about 19 billion from the pocket of the ordinary Ghanaian...

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