Parliament will today witness fierce debate on the supplementary budget presented to the House yesterday by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.
Indication was given via Order Paper Addendum that the House was supposed to approve the supplementary budget immediately after the presentation by the minister, but because of other businesses of the House before the Finance Minister presented the mid-year review and supplementary budget, time was not on the side of the Speaker to allow for exhaustive debate on the supplementary budget before its approval by the House.
Even though the Minister of Finance announced some relieving policies in the review, he indicated that the government would increase nominally the communication service tax and the energy sector levy. As a result of that, the Minority NDC members are ready to capitalize on those upward tax reviews to pollute the minds of Ghanaians about how insensitive the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) is.
As soon as the minister finished with the presentation of the supplementary budget, the Minority members rushed to the parlour of the chamber where a number of media houses had mounted their cameras to grant interviews to press men on the increases in communication service tax and the energy sector levy.
The NDC MP for Ellembele and former Minister of Energy, Emmanuel Armah Kofi-Buah, said the NPP government is very insensitive and deceptive, after promising Ghanaians that when voted into power it would scrap the energy sector levy and also reduce electricity tariffs.
He said after the government decided to reduce electricity tariffs, it turned around to increase the tariffs again and now after promising to scrap the energy sector levy introduced by the NDC government, it has rather increased it which will significantly affect petroleum prices.
The ranking member of Communications Committee and NDC MP for Sagnarigu, A.B.A. Fuseini, said the announcement of the increase in communications tax would cripple the telecommunication industry and that if the telecos want to break even then they would definitely pass on the taxes to the consumers and that would be disastrous for Ghanaians.
A member of the Finance Committee and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament, Daniel Okyem Aboagye, said the increment of the energy sector levy is necessary to enable the government pay the legacy debt left by the NDC in the energy sector as a result of mismanagement of the sector.
He said the government cannot continue to sit down while the energy debt left by the NDC continues to pile up and has, therefore, been real to raise the energy sector levy nominally to help pay for the debt.
He said the NPP would not behave like the NDC by telling Ghanaians the truth, adding “we want to be real to Ghanaians and tell the reality of the economy and the need to impose these taxes to clear off some legacy debts left by the NDC administration.”