Unemployment to go up if 2014 budget is approved - Ken Agyapong warns
The Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong has warned unemployment in the country could go up if Parliament approves the 2014 financial statement.
According to him, given the increase in taxes and the high cost of doing business in the country, employees in the private sector risk losing their jobs.
The 2014 budget statement which is on the theme Rising to Challenge: Re-aligning the Budget to meet key National Priorities” according the Finance Minister Seth Terkper, is to accelerate Ghana’s economic growth.
It aims at strengthening revenue collection, control public sector wage spending, modernize agriculture, manage the country’s debt burden and to realign national expenditure towards priority programmes, as well as the establishment of a fund to boost infrastructural development.
Apart from the 2.5 percent increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate, there are some other taxes which businesses and industry would have to pay once Parliament approves the budget.
Contributing to the budget debate on the floor of Parliament Friday, Kennedy Agyapong said the private sector may be forced to take critical decisions including laying off of some employees to stay in business.
He noted that doing business in Ghana is no more attractive and feared businesses could fold up in 2014.
“Foreign Investments are declining, and businesses are going to fold up next year because cost of production in this country has become very high and is making it very difficult for local industries to compete globally” he bemoaned.
The Assin Central MP who is also a businessman said he is tempted to layoff most of his workers in other to make profit.
Kennedy Agyapong urged his colleague parliamentarians to discuss the issues dispassionately and devoid of politics.
On his part, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Haruna Iddrisu said anyone is entitled to demand accountability on how tax revenues are managed, but it must be done in a bi-partisan manner.
“I have no difficulty if a member of the opposition or any media person asks for an appropriate appropriation of the 2.5 percent increase in VAT, but it should not be politicized” he stated.
The Trade Minister noted that the 2.5% VAT increment will help manage the fiscal challenge, free the economy and “we can dedicate the resources to the development of our strategic infrastructure”.
Haruna Iddrisu, however, challenged the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, to come up with mitigating measures to cushion businesses likely to be hit by the taxes.
Meanwhile, various Committees of Parliament are expected to present reports on estimates granted government ministries; departments and agencies, to enable the House approve them next week.