The Minority in Parliament has said the mid-year budget review the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, presented to Parliament is empty and hopeless and will worsen the plight of Ghanaians.
It said the increase in the Energy Sector Levy and the Communication Tax would result in increases in the prices of food items, transportation fares and communication charges.
The Minority Members of Parliament (MPs) accused the government of increasing taxes against its earlier position to move from taxation to post-production taxation.
The Ranking Member on the Finance Committee and Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson; the Majority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka; the MP for Ketu South and former Minister of Transport, Mr Fifi Kwetey, and the Ranking Member on the Energy Committee of Parliament, Mr Adam Mutawakilu, said these in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic moments after the presentation of the mid-year budget yesterday.
Leading the Minority's argument, Mr Forson said the government was going to tax data and indicated that if "they tax data, they will tax WhatsApp, it is a tax on Facebook, a tax on Instagram and a tax on Twitter".
Besides, he said, the government did not keep its promise to remove the Energy Sector Levy but was rather increasing it.
"These taxes are going to bring additional hardships on the ordinary Ghanaian because we know that if you are to tax fuel and fuel prices go up, it will affect everything — it will affect lorry fares and foodstuffs," he said.
Subsidies to blame
Mr Forson, who is the NDC MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam, said the country was in the current situation because of subsidies and indicated that the government did not heed the Minority's caution against subsidies.
He said the government had promised that it was going to move from taxation on incomes to post-production taxation, "but today it is moving to more taxes”.
He said the government was distorting facts by indicating that it was subsidising power.
"But, today, the government is saying that poor Ghanaians will pay for rich Ghanaians who are enjoying power through petroleum prices.
"What we witnessed today shows that from August 1, 2019 fuel prices are going to go up. Petrol is going to go up by approximately GH¢1, diesel by approximately GH¢1 and LPG by approximately GH¢1.4,” he said.