Close family members of the Finance Minister are out mounting a spirited support for the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy he presented last week, as though the government has run out of numbers and ideas to convince Ghanaians to buy into its financial measures outlined in the document in the coming year.
So far, Ken Ofori-Atta’s wife, Prof. Angela Ofori-Atta and his powerful cousin, Gabby Otchere-Darko, have stepped forward rallying Ghanaians to support the budget which has sparked debate in the public space and in Parliament with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) threatening not to endorse many of the things in it, because of its oppressive tax rates, particularly the Mobile Money tax.
But the wife of the Finance Minister, has asked Ghanaians to bear with her brother-in-law’s government over its introduction of the new electronic transaction levy, saying even one-third of her salary goes into taxes.
“I have to pay one third or more of my salary as taxes every month,” the wife of Mr Ofori-Atta, said.
Angela, who was in parliament when her husband presented the government’s 2022 Budget Statement, in an interview on governance issues at the Volta Fair in Ho, stated that if it is taxes that will allow the country to get better, then there is no need for Ghanaians to complain.
Mrs. Ofori-Atta, a clinical psychologist, has been in charge of her husband’s financial interest in the Enterprise Group, which has been doing business with the government of Akufo-Addo; her in-law, in which her husband is an influential figure.
From insurance on financial bonds raised by the government, state vehicles, properties to COVID-19 insurance packages for the health workers in the country, Enterprise Group had played an active role.
Also in the nexus is another company owned by her husband, the Data Bank, which has been serving as financial advisors for the Ministry of Finance in the bond market with many staff of the private company on secondment to the Finance Ministry.
Several officially employed civil servants, have had to either be transferred or rendered redundant to get the Data Bank workers in the Finance Ministry as consultants. They collect higher wages as salaries and allowances. Indeed, there are reports that Enterprise Group, has put a plush office complex in the heart of Accra.
Aside working with the Enterprise Group which has the funeral homes; Transition and Lashibi funeral home, Mrs. Ofori-Atta, also works with the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, and it is unclear which of the salaries she was talking about as heavily taxed.
She is, however, quoted as saying Ghana can achieve economic and sustainable growth when the citizenry commits to paying taxes.
“If it’s a tax that allows us to have a better life, or in this case, if it’s a tax that allows us to create jobs for young people, then I think it’s worth it.
“I have to pay one third or more of my salary as taxes every month, and I know that there are many people who are not paying taxes, and I know that they would like better roads. They would like when they go to the hospital to get better care; I know that they would like a good Ghana.
“There’s no country that can develop without its citizens contributing, and there are too many people in Ghana not contributing. So I think when we send money to each other to pay for services that are taxed, pretty soon we will figure out a way not to pay income tax because that’s the way the world is going,” she said.
The government in its 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, stated that 1.75percent of all electronic transactions, would be taxed in what is known as an e-levy.
This levy will affect Momo, as well as other digital transactions in the country and has been widely criticized by a cross-section of the public.
On his part, Mr Otchere-Darko, is being subjected to heavy bashing on social media after tweets of his comments on the issue of taxation, dating as far back as 2013, resurfaced.
Commenting on the public outcry and the unending reactions on the subject matter, Gabby took to his Twitter handle to share his thoughts on the whole conversation.
“Ghana’s development paradox. You say you want the country fixed. Yet, you are against raising revenue to get it fixed! Motives matter!” on November 22, 2021.
Following the reading of the 2022 Budget Statement by his cousin the Finance Minister, one of the biggest conversations have been around the introduction of a new Electronic Levy (E-Levy).
The 1.75% levy is expected to affect Momo, as well as other digital transactions in the country and has been widely criticized by a cross-section of the public.
But as they say, the internet never forgets. With snapshots and pieces of evidence making their way back online, some people have shared how the narratives of the outspoken lawyer have been, vis a vis his most recent one, as captured above.