‘I hope labour will protest tax increases’ – Minority Leader Featured

Minority Leader, Haruna Idrissu, is expecting consistency from Labour Unions as government sets to increase taxes.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, is appearing before Parliament Monday morning with the Mid-year Budget Review which is expected to contain increases in taxes on petroleum products and local calls.

His deputy, Kweku Kwarteng, has confirmed the tax increases even though he has refrained from making specific pronouncements on where the new increments will affect.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show ahead of the Finance Minister’s presentation, the Minority Leader said he expects Ken Ofori-Atta to announce an increase in the Energy Sector Levy.

The levy was imposed in 2015 by the Mahama government to deal with legacy debts in the energy sector.

Haruna Idrissu said it will only be fair if Organised Labour, which went on strike when the Energy Levy was introduced, presents a similar protest over the hikes that will be announced today.

“I am afraid of what Organised Labour’s reaction will be to this adjustments, therefore, the Ghanaian people should brace up for increased hardship.

“Already of the growth of the economy is not resulting in expanded employment; you have a masculated private sector where even payment to contractors are targeted to a few and those considered to be NDC contractors are discriminated against. That is not a healthy thing going forward as a country,” Haruna Idrissu said.

What to expect in today’s Midyear Budget review

In accordance with Section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, will Monday present the Mid-Year Review and Supplementary Estimates to Parliament.

This year’s presentation, according to the government statement, will have a particular focus on issues affecting the energy sector and planned reforms for the sector.

Another major area expected to be addressed is the financial sector’s performance.

Ghana’s debt situation, domestic revenue mobilisation, and the review of the Luxury Vehicle Tax will also be highlighted. The Luxury Vehicle Tax has been criticised by economists and the public alike.

Government will, therefore, seek the approval of Parliament for supplementary estimates.

Aside from highlighting Ghana’s fiscal performance between January and June 2019, as well as a fiscal strategy going forward, this year’s Mid-Year Budget Review will touch on policies leading to increases in industrial output, such as the agro-food sector.

Roads Rehabilitation and Construction, the strengthening of Security, and Government Priority Programmes, among others, will also be addressed.

According to the statement from the Finance Ministry, against the backdrop of the Ghana Beyond Aid vision, this Mid-year presentation to Parliament is expected to explain how Ghana will take advantage of the opportunities that come with the hosting of the Secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).

In a nutshell, Monday’s review covers:

- A brief overview of the macroeconomic developments (2018 and 2019);

- An analysis of revenue, expenditure, and financing performance for 2019;

- A revised fiscal outlook for the unexpired term of the financial year; and

- An overview of the implementation of the annual budget.

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