Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has admonished the opposition not to rely on social media for key economic policy direction.
His comment comes on the heels of widespread discussion by political parties, businesses and civil society organisations, about the possible increase of VAT from 17.5% to 21.5% because of a Facebook post by Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, nephew to President Nana Akufo-Addo.
“Will you support a VAT increase to keep your lights on, your secondary schools filled, your school kids fed, your streets clean, your streets safe, young graduates employed, and decent, affordable homes built for working families”? Mr Otchere-Darko’s post read.
The Minority in Parliament and the main opposition National Democratic Congress took issue with the government over the speculation and vowed to fight any such tax increase.
But presenting the mid-year budget review statement before parliament on Thursday, 19 July 2018, Mr Ofori-Atta said: “Don’t take economic policy directions from social media.”
He then announced that: “Mr Speaker, there will be no increase in VAT”.
He said: “Mr Speaker, last year we abolished numerous taxes. The scale of tax reductions had never been implemented in the 60 years of Ghana’s economic history since independence. The evidence shows that the economy has responded positively to these tax cuts. What is also clear to us Mr Speaker is that we are not collecting as much as we should.
“The solution to this problem, however, is not necessarily, imposition of many taxes, we must first make sure that we ensure compliance with existing tax laws, plug the leakages in the existing system, ensure value-for-money for the expenditures that government undertakes and ensure Mr Speaker, that the wealthy also pay their fair share. Mr Speaker, any taxes should be to elicit socially desirable outcomes such as a better environment in this regard.
“I’ll like to inform the house Mr Speaker that there will be no increase in VAT”, Mr Ofori-Atta stressed.