Mid-Year review poised to block revenue leakages

Ken Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta read the mid-year review of the annual budget, and as purported by sources close to the Presidency, the VAT rate was not increased as projected. However, the Finance Minister ensured that measures are in place to rake in the targeted revenue projections.

The Minister also announced the imposition of taxes on vehicles with engine capacities of more than 3.0 litres as well as a review of Personal Income Tax to include an additional band of GH¢10,000 and above per month at a rate of 35 percent.

Much in line with government’s economic outlook, the Finance Minister, announced measures that will ensure a widening of the tax net against burdening the existing tax payers and said: “investigations we have undertaken show inbound leakages on goods arriving in the country, significant outstanding tax debts, abuse of suspense regime in the area of warehousing, transit trade, and free zones, and tax audit issues such as limited coverage, low auditor productivity, and low audit yields.

We are rolling out major initiatives to address these tax compliance issues”, he added.

Mr. Ofori-Atta is confident that these measures should fetch the needed revenue to prevent a relapse in government’s fiscal consolidation efforts. The debate has just begun and pundits will surely dissect the review and come up with their interpretations in the days and weeks to come.

We are in agreement that all revenue leakages must be sealed so that expected revenue targets are met and government projects can be undertaken for the good of the citizenry.

Mr. Ofori-Atta also announced that GH¢366 million was released to support the Planting for Food and Jobs, flagship agriculture programme for the first half of the year. This figure represents 52 percent of the GH¢700 million allocated for the programme this year (2018).

We learn it was used to purchase improved seedlings for maize, rice soybeans and sorghum to name a few, as well as 124,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer was procured for the season and 216 pick-ups and 3,000 motorcycles were secured to fulfill government’s will to modernize agriculture in the country.

On the whole, Ghanaians are expectant and government is poised to redeem its promises to the people. As it is said in lay parlance, the sweetness of the cake lies in the eating.