Govt engaged in profligacy – Ablakwa

North Tongu lawmaker Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has accused the Akufo-Addo administration of engaging in extravagance in the budget statement for the 2021 fiscal year. Mr Ablakwa noted that at a time the government is refusing to increase wages of workers and also introducing new taxes, the administration has budgeted huge sum of money to the Office of the Government Machinery. “When a government appeals to the people to share the burden, admonishes workers not to expect significant wage increases, seeks to impose numerous taxes during this period of considerable economic hardship – that government must be seen to be leading by example so that the people it leads may give them a listening ear. “As I noted in Parliament during the debate on the 2021 Budget Statement, the Akufo-Addo administration continues to engage in profligate expenditure while asking the people to tighten their belts,” he said in a tweet. Meanwhile, former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere Darko, has said the Akufo-Addo-led government is not asking Ghanaians to pay for the cost of Covid-19 last year,. Rather, he said, the budget statement for the 2021 fiscal year is asking the people to help share the burden of the existing Covid-19 costs, including vaccines for over 20 million Ghanaians. His comments come after some Ghanaians have raised issues with the new taxes that have been introduced in the budget statement. For instance, Lawmaker for Tamale North, Alhasan Suhuyini has said the 2021 budget statement presented by leader of government business Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu will worsen the condition of businesses in the country. He said at a time Ghanaians and businesses are dealing with the negative impact of the coronavirus, the government has introduced taxes to, in his view, worsen their plight.  “The government introduced burdensome taxes on some companies already overburdened by COVID,” he said on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday March 13. He added “There is the tax on sanitation that we are going to deal with. There is also the Covid levy for us to pay. The government is proposing in the 2021 budget statement the introduction of a Covid-19 Health Levy of a one percentage point increase in the National Health Insurance Levy and a one percentage point increase in the VAT Flat Rate to support expenditures related to Covid-19. “To provide the requisite resources to address these challenges and fund these activities, government is proposing the introduction of a Covid-19 Health Levy of a one percentage point increase in the NationalHealth Insurance Levy and a one percentage point increase in the VAT Flat Rate to support expenditures related to Covid-19,” the budget said. But in a Facebook post, Mr Otchere Darko who is also a leading member of the  of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) said “The Government is not asking you to pay for the cost of Covid-19 last year.  No! That cost led to the huge fiscal burden which we do not want repeated this year.  The task this year is two-fold: to defeat the virus, and rebuild the economy for businesses to thrive to create jobs and put cash in the pockets of workers. “The 2021 budget is not asking you to pay for the cost of 2020. You are being asked to help share the burden of the existing Covid-19 costs, including vaccines for over 20 million Ghanaians. “Remember there is an equally important cost of reviving the economy through the cost of stimulus packages. “Deceit is when a government pretends there is no cost to anything and uses your taxes not for the greater public good. As taxpayers, we must all consider ourselves as partners in bringing our national economy back to life even as Government continues to invest your money to save lives.” By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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