On Wednesday, the Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper appeared before Parliament to present the 2015 Budget Statement, one thing stood out after he read the budget, which has been described by some informed journalists as controversial.
That is the 17.5 per cent tax on petroleum prices is what has been described as controversial. The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP), Members of Parliament (MPs), staged a walk out because they disagree with the introduction of the petroleum tax.
What is disturbing is that, the new tax does not mean that there will be a 17.5 percent increment in petrol prices and other products. The computation is such that cost of diesel and petrol will go up by 3 per cent, kerosene by 2.6 per cent, with LPG reducing by 9.8 per cent.
The government is not so insensitive to the extent that it will burden Ghanaians unnecessarily despite the economic challenges we are going through.
As a nation and a people, we should realize that we cannot eat our cake and still have it. For as long as we demand of government to provide certain basic services, such as electricity and water, and infrastructural developments, like roads, schools, hospitals etc, we should be prepared to pay taxes so government can raise revenue to meet our everyday needs.
The reports that the International Monetary Funds (IMF) and other Multi-lateral partners, who support fifty per cent of our budget, have decided to hold back their support, means that if we desperately want development, which we do we need to pay tax.
Again, some opposition elements are making noise about our GDP to debt ratio, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the twice failed running mate to Nana Addo, also accused the government of borrowing too much, if government must stop borrowing, then the only option available to us for now is to raise and introduce taxes.
On the whole, we at The Herald think Ghanaians and the business community still need detail and effective education on taxation and its impact.
This was evident in the reportage of some media houses and MPs on the Minority side on Wednesday, this same reason of lack of education was why in 1995, and the introduction of the Value Added Tax was halted, only to be reintroduced in 1998.