General News of Sun, 15 Jul 2018121

Not everyone needs Free SHS; pay if you can afford it – Franklin Cudjoe

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IMANI Africa President, Franklin Cudjoe has said it is critical the Free Secondary Education and other social interventions are now targeted persons with genuine need.

His comments come amid speculation over the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) ahead of the mid-year budget reading.

Speaking on The Big Issue, Mr. Cudjoe said it was clear the Akufo-Addo administration is in dire need of funds. “As to whether the quest, if it is proven, for increased taxes is because of government’s expansionist approach, I can say without blinking an eye that – yes.”

As a solution, the IMANI boss said “persons who can afford some of these interventions should also start paying for them. It is very critical.”

“At the end of the day, some people who are enjoying free SHS right now probably have extra cash to do other things and they probably don’t need it.”

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As it stands now, Mr. Cudjoe expects the cost of Free SHS to go upwards of GHC1.2 billion.

“The Free SHS is costing us almost GHc 1.2 billion as we speak; the figure we actually predicted, and we are yet to get into the other aspects of the Free SHS.”

“So it has become a problem, that if Free SHS alone is costing you this much and likely to increase, then it means they must be really looking for money from many many sources.”

There have been suggestions there may be an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) and National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL), in the Mid-Year Budget Review.

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This was after a report by a pro-NPP newspaper, The New Statesman, suggested that government may announce an increase in the VAT and the National Insurance Levy in the Mid-Year Budget Review.

The report suggested that VAT and NHIL may be increased from 17.5 percent to 21.5 percent.

The MP for Ledzokuku, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye has however assured that the government will not increase the existing VAT rate.

He said the government is only devising measures of raising revenue in a manner that will not negatively affect businesses and individuals.

“There will not be any VAT increase. What is happening is that government is contemplating very innovative ways of raising revenue in a manner that will be least destructive to business and bring as minimal discomfort to citizens.”

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