Cash For Roads Ready; Ken Ofori-Atta Removes Luxury Tax


    The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has said the numerous roads the erstwhile Mahama government claimed it constructed between 2012 and 2016 have miraculously been found in the party’s propaganda document called the Green Book, but in reality those roads and other infrastructural projects do not exist.

    He said the Akufo-Addo government would not follow the National Democratic Congress (NDC) example, but would rather ensure that any road and other infrastructural project budgeted for is done for the benefit of the country since the money is ready.

    “We have looked beyond the legendary Green Book of bold but many unsubstantiated claims of infrastructural projects fabricated and built, but in those beautiful pages for our predecessors’ 2016 campaign.  We have planned for them and have found the money to do far more than what the Green Book authors (NDC) achieved,” the minister fired in Parliament yesterday during the mid-year budget review.

    He said emphatically, “Fellow Ghanaians, I wish to plead with you and assure you that the Akufo-Addo government will fix your roads and we shall fix them; not with words and pictures.”

    The Finance Minister has confirmed a similar observation made by President Akufo-Addo at Assin Jakai in the Central Region last week when he said, “The road infrastructure the NDC boasted about can only be found in the Green Book.”

    Luxury Tax

    The Finance Minister said the government is also withdrawing the luxury vehicle levy  introduced in 2018 to raise revenue following suggestions from the public that it was business unfriendly.

    “As a listening government, we are proposing to the House the withdrawal of the levy. We will continue to improve compliance, expand the tax net and explore other innovative sources of raising revenue,” he announced.

    He said as part of the resolve to ensure that the 2019 Budget was implemented as planned, additional revenue measures like the proposal to increase Communication Service Tax to nine per cent has been done.

    He said it would develop the foundation for the creation of a viable technology ecosystem in the country when approved.

    “This will comprise amongst others putting in systems to identify and combat cybercrime, protect users of information technology and combat money laundering and other financial crimes. The increase will not be earmarked, however, the sharing ratio will be adjusted in such a manner that the national youth employment programmes will continue to receive the same proportions as they are currently receiving,” he stated.

    Procurement Savings

    Mr Ofori-Atta said the Public Procurement Authority saved GH¢2.7 billion in 31 months for the country when in the entire four years of the NDC administration, they saved nothing.

    He said the savings were made between January 2017 and July 2019 from sole sourced and restrictive tendering contracts, explaining, “In a space of 31 months by reviewing contracts that were either sole sourced or procured through restrictive tendering, the Akufo-Addo administration has made savings of 2.75 billion, which breaks down to 800 million in 2017, 1.1 billion in 2018 and 1.085 billion in 2019.”

    “Permit me to compare these savings made by the PPA under this administration to what happened under the previous one even though more contracts were awarded through sole sourcing and restricting tender annually than any year under the government.

    “In 2013, savings registered was 0 cedis; in 2014 again, savings amounted to 0 cedis; in 2015 savings made totalled 0 cedis; in 2016 again, the PPMA 0 cedis in savings. When it comes to how tax payers have been managed, the facts speak loudly,” he revealed.

    Bright Future

    The minister said that Ghana’s future was bright and posterity would be kind to President Akufo-Addo for introducing the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) initiative.

    “Free SHS programme has changed the cause of this nation forever and posterity will thank the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for making it possible for our young people to realise their future dreams and aspirations through free education,” he said during the presentation of the 2019 mid-year budget review in Parliament yesterday.

    “Access to secondary education in this country has never been higher. The innovative temporary double-track system currently being implemented has helped to accommodate the numbers, affording each child the possibility of accessing secondary education. Government has responded to this increased demand with accelerated infrastructure delivery,” he added.

    GH¢6.37 Billion Request

    In the final analysis, he said the government is requesting an additional GH¢6.37 billion to add to the original budget of GH¢78.7 billion for the 2019 Fiscal Year.

    This will bring to GH¢85.1 billion the total amount it needs for its operations this year.

    By Samuel Baodi & Thomas Fosu Jnr

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