President Nana Akufo-Addo has summoned his Cabinet to an emergency meeting Tuesday, as concerns soar over possible tax increases.
Joy News has learnt that the meeting will look at options for raising additional revenue to fund the many social policy interventions rolled out by the government.
Sources at the Presidency tell Joy News there will be only one item on the agenda, which is a proposal by the Economic Management Team to boost revenue. This is coming amid stiff public rejection of a possible increase in taxes.
There are speculations that government might increase the VAT rate from the current 17.5% to 21% as Mr. Ofori Attah prepares to update Parliament on the performance of the economy in the past half year, on Thursday.
The Finance Minister himself is tight-lipped about a possible increment as he said he has “no clue where that’s coming from”. “Until I come to parliament we won’t know,” Mr. Ofori Attah told Joy News’ reporter, Kwesi Parker-Wilson.
President Akufo-Addo has not made a firm decision yet on the controversial issue of increasing VAT because of his own concerns about its implications on most Ghanaians.
The government last year abolished some eight taxes and reduced four others, many of which were introduced by the previous government.
According to Mr. Ofori Atta, many of the taxes including duties paid on the importation of vehicle spare parts, were nuisance taxes, the removal of which will ease the difficulties they imposed on Ghanaians.
Head of the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana, Prof. Peter Quartey says a marginal increment in the VAT rate to support the ailing health insurance system is in order but says the government would have to demonstrate to the people that any increment in the tax rate would not go into the payment of salaries.
“A marginal increase in my view wouldn’t be a big deal but to what extent are we going to use it? I am for marginal increment if only it is not to use it to pay wages and salaries,” Dr. Quartey told Joy News’ Anchor, Emefa Apawu on Top Story, Friday.
He, however, said Ghanaians should “expect a good budget” on Thursday.