Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has justified the government’s decision to extend water and electricity reliefs and other tax reliefs to Ghanaians despite the country’s revenue shortfalls.
In an interview on Citi TV, Mr. Ofori-Atta debunked suggestions that government is patronizing Ghanaians with the reliefs in an attempt to win votes in the 2020 General elections.
Mr. Ofori-Atta explained that the government’s decision to go ahead with the electricity reliefs for life-line consumers and water and other tax reliefs was to ease the burden of Ghanaians amid a devastating pandemic.
According to him, the Government cannot afford to “kill the spirit of the people” despite the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic hence the need for these social interventions, adding that it was his government’s responsibility to cushion Ghanaians.
“There are two things that you will need given the mandate- first of all, you can’t be complaining about the problems, because you were voted to solve that. Secondly, you can’t kill the spirit of the people because that is so fundamental.”
“My responsibility is to find ways to which I can cushion people. There is some real poverty going on, in a land where some of 90% work in the informal sector, I need to intervene. I need to save lives and that builds trust and gets everybody in the same boat to move forward.”
“The issues of lives and the dignity of the person and livelihood trumps a lot of things,” the Minister added.
Ghanaians are to enjoy another three months of free water supply and electricity relief as part of efforts to cushion Ghanaians against the hardship brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta announced while presenting the 2020 mid-year budget review in Parliament.
He said the government decided to extend the utility reliefs “because we put the concerns and aspirations of the ordinary Ghanaian first.”
Ghanaians enjoyed free water services and slashed electricity tariffs for April, May and June 2020.
The government took care of the water bills for all Ghanaians for those three months to cushion Ghanaians when restrictions on public gatherings were instituted and the subsequent partial lockdown of Accra, Kasoa, Kumasi and Tema.
Reduction in Talk Tax to be effective in September, Akuffo Addo
The government says the implementation of the new rate for the Communication Service Tax also known as talk tax is to begin effective September 2020.
Addressing Ghanaians on Sunday, July 26, 2020, to reiterate plans taken by the government to cushion Ghanaians from the impact of COVID-19, Nana Akufo-Addo indicated that the move will be rolled out in September.
“The Communication Service Tax has also been reduced from 9 per cent to 5 per cent, effective September 2020.”
Source: Mediaghananews.com|Citi TV