Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has pleaded with Members of Parliament and Ghanaians to accept to pay a little extra taxes introduced in the 2021 budget statement to help grow back the economy after it was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Contributing to the 2021 budget discussion in Parliament on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, the Ofoase-Ayirebi MP said:
“Mr Speaker, we are at that point where every Ghanaian has to chip in a little so that we are able to recover. We cannot as a country allow the temporary challenges that we face today to hold us back.
“We need to bite the bullet, raise some more resources and invest the same in the things that we all aspire to achieve in this country.”
He added that, government needs resources to be able to fund roads and sanitation projects as well as many of the policies it has introduced since winning the election in 2016 like the Free SHS, Planting for Food and Jobs, among others.
Oppong Nkrumah indicated that the success of these policy interventions and projects will ensure the growth of the economy.
He explained, “Mr Speaker, for all of us members of parliament who demand road projects in our constituencies, if govt desires to increase the road tolls marginally to raise more resources to ensure our contractors are paid on time so that our roads our done, it is something that will benefit our constituents and us as well.”
He continued: “For all of us who complained that the president promised Accra should become the cleanest city in Africa within a period of time, that promise has not been materialised.
“I am sure that if we pay a little extra and those funds are put to the proper use, we’ll be able to make not just Accra but Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale and other cities the cleanest in West Africa. It will serve our constituents well and serve us well.”
The 2021 budget statement and economic policy of the government proposed new taxes on petroleum products, 1% COVID-19 Health Levy on VAT Flat Rate Scheme and 1% on the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL).
Despite many criticisms from minority MPs and some Ghanaians, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah maintained that in the first term of the Akufo-Addo administration, the government secured many raising resources for the growth of the economy and thus, it is important that the 2021 budget statement is accepted by the MPs.
“I want to call [on] all members of this house that as the government program has been put before us, we all rally behind govt [to] pass these revenue measures and approve this budget, raise the resources required and most importantly, ensure that resources are put to the use for which they have been advertised,” he stressed.