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Opinions of Friday, 3 March 2017


Statesman Opinion : ‘Asempa Budget’ : A deep sigh of relief

Ken Ofori-Atta Ken Ofori-Atta

The maiden budget of the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presented to Parliament yesterday by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, is incontrovertibly a deep sigh of relief for the suffering masses of Ghanaians who had endured a harsh economic burden imposed on them, as a results of the incompetence of the previous National Democratic Congress regime for the past eight years.   Indeed, from the ‘kayeyei’, spare parts dealers, the corporate world to Ghanaians in the diaspora, almost every one is certain to benefit from the life-relieving policies of the government.

Themed ‘Sowing the Seeds for Growth and Jobs’, the budget offers ample testimony that the ruling New Patriotic Party is determined to walk the talk as far as the campaign promises and pledges  contained in the party’s 2016 manifesto are concerned.

The good news of the ‘Asempa budget’ was so refreshing that it dazed the NDC minority in parliament, forcing them to scream ‘4I9’ when the Finance Minister, in fulfillment of the NPP campaign promise, was announcing the removal of the nuisance taxes they imposed on Ghanaians and businesses.

Apparently, they found what they heard in their ears so real to be true that it shocked them to the bone, hence their unthinkable and inconceivable heckling. How could you scream in disapproval to an announcement to remove killer taxes your government insensitively burdened Ghanaians with? What ridiculousness!

 Among the juiciest part of the budget include the abolition of  the 1 percent Special Import Levy;  17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on financial services; 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on selected imported medicines, that are not produced locally; excise duty on petroleum, levies imposed on ‘kayayei’ by local authorities, duty on the importation of spare parts, levies imposed on religious institutions by local authorities, the 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on domestic airline tickets, the 5 percent VAT/NHIL on Real Estate sales.

The budget also indicated that the Akufo-Addo government would initiate steps to remove import duties on raw materials and machinery for production within the context of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) Protocol; reduce special petroleum tax rate from 17.5 percent to 15 percent;  exempt from taxation, the gains from realization of securities listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange or publicly held securities approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC);  reduce National Electrification Scheme Levy from 5 percent to 3 percent;  reduce Public Lighting Levy from 5 percent to 2 percent; replace the 17.5 VAT/NHIL rate with a flat rate of 3 percent for traders; and implement tax credits and other incentives for businesses that hire young graduates.

These, among other heart-warming initiatives and policies contained in the Asempa budget, have sent many Ghanaians jubilating, with a sigh of relief from the economic quagmire.

It is without doubt that the Budget could pass for the most life-enhancing and economic relieving budget in the history of the Fourth Republican dispensation. 

Indeed, we are humbled by the mouthwatering initiatives and policies to be implemented by the government.

We therefore call on all Ghanaians, particularly the opposition, to embrace the good intentions of the government in alleviating their suffering.  The benefits of the policies, when successfully implemented, will undeniably affect every Ghanaian and generations unborn positively.

Indeed, the ‘Asempa budget’ has added another impetus to our belief that Ghana, our beloved country, will work again under the inspiring leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.