Mr Isaac Adongo exchanging greetings with Mr Eric Opoku (right) after the forum. Picture: EBOW HANSON
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called on Ghanaians to join the party in rejecting the 2022 budget, as a detailed analysis of the policy document shows that its approval will impoverish rather than improve the lives of the people.
Some NDC stalwarts, led by the General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, said at a public forum yesterday that the budget in its current state would increase the tax burden of the people, raise the cost of living and collapse businesses.
They mentioned that the planned introduction of the electronic transactions levy, the reversal of a discount policy on benchmark values of imports and the 15 per cent increase in the cost of all government services as some of the policies that would make the people worse off.
They described as misleading, the position of the government that proceeds of the new taxes would be used to tackle employment and entrepreneurship.
Consequently, the party said it behoved Ghanaians to rally behind it to ensure that the budget was not approved and implemented in its current state.
Additionally, the party said it would marshal all its 137 Members of Parliament (MPs) to reject the budget.
With the hashtag, #DroptheAwudiebudget, the event was headlined by the MP for Asunafo South, Mr Eric Opoku, and the MP for Bolgatanga Central, Mr Isaac Adongo, who made presentations on the need to reject the 2022 Budget in its current stage, despite the few concessions made by the government.
Mr Opoku implored Ghanaians, especially the youth, to examine the hardship and the likely repercussions that would result from the imposition of taxes introduced in the budget and reject it.
“We can’t accept the rise in fees and charges of 15 per cent,” he stated.
He said the government had turned to deceptions as a means of accounting to the people on the government’s expenditure.
Mr Adongo said the Minority was resolved to reject the budget because it would bring hardship on the people and worsen their plight.
For instance, he explained that although the government estimated to rake in billions through taxes, it only planned to spend GH¢385 million on job creation.
“It is because they are using unemployment to collect money and they are not using that money well to address the unemployment situation so if they were taking GH¢6.9 billion and we are seeing that they are programming to spend Gh¢4 billion to create jobs for the youth, we will support it,” he said.
NDC not anti taxes
For his part, Mr Nketiah noted that the NDC was not against taxation as it was one of the means to rake in money for developmental projects, among other things, but it was opposed to the introduction of retrogressive taxes.
“Since we started attacking this budget, there’s been a misconception that NDC is against taxation and the propaganda has gone to even indicate that we are nation wreckers but, I want to let everybody know that NDC is not against taxation.
“ Indeed, our philosophy is based on taxation; we believe in redistributive justice and taxation is a means of achieving redistribution of wealth in the country,” he said.
Later in an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Communications Officer of the party said proceeds from taxes the government intended to impose on the people through the 2022 Budget would not be used for the development of the country or create jobs as the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, had suggested.
“We are saying that budget statements are supposed to improve the state of the economy but if you look at the 2022 budget it is not responsive and does not address the challenges the people of Ghana are going through,” he said.