4 controversial government policies and proposals in 2021
It must be said, however, that 2021 was a year in which such policies which generated massive heat for the government were relatively weak.
Until the reading of the 2022 budget and financial statements in November, it was a cool race for the Akufo-Addo government in terms of unpopular decisions.
But the 2022 budget changed that cool trajectory with some policies and proposals that made Ghanaians angry with the government.
We therefore reviewed 4 policies and proposals of the NPP government that were controversial in 2021.
1. Electronic tax: During his presentation of the 2022 budget to Parliament, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta revealed that the government is abolishing the collection of road tolls across the country and in its place, the introduction of an electronic levy.
The proposed levy, which will come into effect on February 1, 2022, is a levy of 1.75% of the value of electronic transactions. It covers mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inbound remittances.
The initiator of the transactions will bear the costs with the exception of incoming remittances, which will be borne by the recipient. There is an exemption for transactions up to GH Â¢ 100 ($ 16) per day.
According to the Minister of Finance, total digital transactions for 2020 were estimated to be over 500 billion GH Â¢ (about 81 billion dollars) compared to 78 billion GH Â¢ (12.5 billion dollars) in 2016. Huge growth in just five years.
This led to an initial rejection of the budget by the minority which was later overturned and ultimately adopted by the majority.
According to the minority, the introduction of an electronic tax will erode any gains Ghana has made in the digital economy and place an additional burden on the people of Ghana.
2. 15% increase in royalties on government services: As of January 2022, fees and charges for all government services will increase by at least 15%.
This is what emerges from the 2022 budget statement presented by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
According to the document, the new charges will be subject to an annual adjustment of the average inflation rate with the agreement of the Minister of Finance.
âReview fees and charges with an average increase of at least 15% in 2022 and then subject them to automatic annual adjustments based on the average inflation rate as published by the Ghana Statistical Service, but with prior agreement from the Minister of Finance. Royalties and charges should, however, be subject to a general review every 5 years. The effective date of implementation is January 1, 2022 â, indicates the budget.
3. Scrapped reference value on 32 items: On Monday, November 15, the Ghana Revenue Authority announced that it had removed the benchmark from 32 items.
A letter written to this effect to Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta dated November 11, 2021 and signed by the Commissioner General, Reverend Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, said: âWe are writing to inform you that as a result of discussions in various forums, it was agreed that the discount on some products that one currently enjoys should be reversed to achieve an income effect â.
This political decision led to criticism of the government by some professional associations in the country. The Ghana Spare Parts Dealers Association noted that the (GRA) decision to reverse the 50% and 30% benchmark policy enjoyed by the trading community on some 32 selected items will increase the burden of Ghanaians.
Spare Parts Dealers Association secretary Eric Anti said the situation would be dire for Ghanaians if the GRA does not reverse its decision.
He cited rising transportation costs, the depreciation of the cedi and the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy as reasons for traders to continue to profit from the benchmark policy.
4. Rental of luxury jets by the Presidency: Earlier this year, Okudzeto Ablakwa, a member of parliament from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of North Tongu, sparked controversy when he alleged that President Akufo-Addo had leased a private jet at a cost of 2.8 million. of yen during his travels in France, Belgium and the South. Africa at the expense of Ghanaians saved by taxes.
He tabled a question and Parliament summoned Defense Minister Dominic Nitiwul to answer questions about the cost and why Ghana’s own presidential jet was not used.
The minister justified the president’s decision to rent the plane, arguing that the capacity of the presidential plane can no longer carry the president’s entourage.