Mr Razak Kojo Opoku, a staunch member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) said the 2020 year presented scaring effects on the global economy after the novel COVID-19.
He said no country could escape from the effects, adding that, “clearly, now almost every country is undergoing sluggish economic recovery”.
Mr Razak Opoku said the outbreak of the COVID-19 had forced fiscal authorities to spend huge sums to protect their citizens and defend their economies from the colossal toll of the diseases and Ghana was no exception.
“More scary spectacle captured by the African Union recent report on the impact of COVID-19 on the continent’s economy which simply reports that the continent could lose up to $500 billion”.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Razak Opoku said the report further stressed that countries under the circumstance, would be forced to borrow heavily in order to survive after the pandemic.
He said the fat economies such as the United States and United Kingdom were even borrowing amid the pandemic in order to navigate significant financial difficulties.
Mr Razak Opoku said it was evidently clear that in the face of the battle against the COVID-19, governments around the world were on the cusp of becoming more indebted, surpassing even the second –world-war.
He said globally, countries in recent times borrowed at a breakneck pace, and the COVID-19 had added close to $20 trillion to the global debt.
Mr Razak Opoku asked if Ghana should also join the borrowing spree, No? So is the language of the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia’s government and Ghanaians must domestically support to build the country’s economy.
“Locally, we can develop more pragmatic means to ensure our economy is still robust. The introduction of certain taxes captured in this year’s budget, is to collectively build the country’s economy with the strength of ordinary citizens and to protect their livelihood”.
He said he 2021 budget which was read on March 12, by Ghana’s Caretaker Minister of Finance, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu elaborated some benefits of the taxes.
Mr Razak Opoku said the COVID-19 Health Levy provided the requisite resources to sustain the implementation of the measures implemented by the government to address the COVID-19 pandemic while the Sanitation and Pollution Levy provided the government with the requisite resources to implement measures that would reduce the number of deaths and diseases from poor sanitation.
He said the Financial Sector Clean-up Levy tax was also introduced to help defray outstanding commitments in the sector and will be reviewed in 2024, while the Tax Administration was to help curb the unlawful acts by some industry players involved in under-reporting and evasion of taxes.
“The Gaming policy is aimed at eliminating the revenue leakages in the sector and to prevent capital flight, Road tolls is to enable the government to make improvements on the roads and Vehicle Income Tax for vans (trotros) and taxis are part of measures to reduce the cost of transportation.
Mr Razak Opoku said the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia’s government was focusing on more domestic measures to address the country’s peculiar challenges of COVID-19 and under the Planting for Foods and Jobs, farmers’ access to production inputs increased to 1.4 million and over 1.7 million farmers benefited from subsidized fertilizer.
He said with the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia’s government industrialization drive, out of the 232 targeted factories, 107 factories were under construction, 76 operational, 36 commenced construction and 13 yet to be started and these factories would basically process the country’s raw materials produced under the Planting for Foods Jobs.
“This is a focused government whose Production Theory proposed by Dr. Bawumia in opposition still holds and in full implementation to drive the economy of Ghana”.
Mr Razak Opoku said the GHC750 million Coronavirus Alleviation Programme – Business Support Scheme (CAP-BuSS) was another laudable initiative by the government to ensure that business survives around this extra ordinary times, adding that, “the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia’s government is not taking from Ghanaians but supporting them to transform their livelihoods.”
“The plight of the ordinary Ghanaian is a major concern to the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia’s government. This is why the Public Utility and Regulatory Commission has not increased utility tariffs, so, where from the opposition propaganda that the government is taxing Ghanaians because of the provision of free water and electricity during the past COVID-19 period?”