The government of President Nana Akufo-Addo has taken GHS27,197,666,951 from the pockets of Ghanaians through taxes, levies and price hikes since coming into office in 2017, the Ranking Member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, has said.
Debunking claims by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta that the government has put GHS12.2 billion in the pockets of the populace, the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam MP told a forum organized by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Wednesday, 20 November 2019 at a post-budget forum that Ghanaians have rather been shortchanged.
Delivering the 2020 budget statement in Parliament on Wednesday, 13 November 2019, Mr Ofori-Atta disclosed that the Free SHS policy has saved parents a total of GHS1.8 billion over the last three years.
According to him, the Planting for Food and Jobs program has saved farmers a total of GHS844 million over the last three years for subsidised fertiliser and a total of GHS357 million have been put in the pockets of teacher trainees within the last three years in the form of an allowance.
Mr Ofori-Atta said nurse trainees have also received a total of GHS336 million in the form of allowance within the last three years while the government continues to subsidise the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) registration fee which has saved parents a total of GHS65 million over the last two years.
The Finance Minister further mentioned that electricity tariff reductions effected by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) effective 15 March 2018 resulted in savings of GHS1.8 billion a year for residential and non-residential customers which is money in the pockets of many Ghanaians.
Mr Forson, however, gave the following breakdown of how much Ghanaians have rather lost since the Akufo-Addo government assumed office.
Decoupling of National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) and the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) component of VAT – GHS2,600,388,891
Luxury Vehicle Tax – GHS60,686,352
Extension NFSL and SIL – GHS321,425,688
Communication Service Tax (CST) – GHS107,191,919
Increase in Energy Sector Levy Act (ESLA) – GHS436,629,512
Utilities price increases – GHS9,000,000,000
Fuel price increases – GHS13,671,344,589
Transport fares increases – GHS1,000,000,000
“When the increase in taxes are included in the scenario, the government took GHS 27.2 billion on the average from our pocket between January 2017 and August 2019”, Mr Forson said.