Founding President of policy think-tank, IMANI Africa, has declared that Ghana is so broke the government may be on a quicksand.
In a write-up he paints a desperate situation in which up to Ghc40billion that government needs to claw in so that it can service the 2021 budget will probably require a miracle to secure.
“After all the permutations, Government can only hope for 72bn cedis from new and old taxes for 2021. Yet, the government needs 113bn cedis to take care of its bills for 2021,’ Mr. Cudjoe wrote.
He adds that “…If your government doesn’t secure at least 26bn cedis between now and June 2021, it will be disastrous. The government is broke.”
The commentary is coming after the government introduced a raft of sweeping taxes and levies in the 2021 budget so it can raise money from an already over-taxed Ghanaian people.
Among the new taxes are garbage taxes, and a shocking COVID-19 Tax. Even so, Mr. Cudjoe points out that the effort is not good enough.
“…the new taxes on petroleum-related goods will bring in close to 1.3bn cedis- pales into insignificance when you think of it that the deficit is a staggering 40bn cedis by end of the year, and that is assuming government gets all its projected revenue of GHC 72bn.”
He reiterated that the freebies that the government distributed during the COVID-19 pandemic were not freebies at all but a trap set for the government which is now clawing back with heavy hammer taxes.
“Fellow Ghanaians, we are now on course to paying for all the freebies we enjoyed during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. We told you there was no free lunch. Looks like time to pay back in taxes. And while we can blame coronavirus for most of our ills, and I think coronavirus deserves full honours, what is not in doubt is the fact that we have to get serious with everything and account properly for all taxes and investments.”
For the respected IMANI President, the new tax burden that the government is putting on Ghanaians makes it imperative for it to become accountable, saying that one area where prudence can be made is in cutting down the number of Ministries.
“I hear the pains of paying new taxes and as libertarians, IMANI is minded that taxes must be optimised based on critical needs alone, even more pressing for this prudence is the devastating impact of coronavirus.
Franklin Cudjoe agreed with the view that the current desperate state of affairs demands that government carefully prioritize its projects and areas of focus.
“It is refreshing to hear Hon. Kyei Mensah- Bonsu says that government will ensure that 8700 projects at various stages of completion will be prioritised. Presumably, these projects include the crucially needed 111 hospitals and 14 waste treatment facilities. These are more important in a pandemic-impaired world than any others…,” said Cudjoe.