“It seems like there is always a new tax being introduced…at what level are we going to stop taxing the people of this country? When are we going to have any tax relief?”
The Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jr. sought to find out why government is always introducing new taxes without giving explanations as to why, or what the money is going to be used for.
“There is no understanding on the issue. Meanwhile, we have a government communication team and a ministry of information. There is even a new tax on petroleum…what is going on? The argument for increasing the prices of petroleum products is shallow and senseless. Even the frequency of the increases doesn’t make sense,” he added.
Kwesi Pratt was commenting on the introduction of a new tax on banking services rendered to clients. The 17.5% tax which is to be implemented in May, will cover services offered by financial institutions unless they decide to absorb the cost.
Speaking to the issue on Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokrokoo’, Kwesi Pratt said the introduction of this new tax will cause uneasiness in the minds of clients because no one would want to transact business with the banks.
“Currently, this new policy is creating panic and fear because no one knows the exact amount they will be deducting. Now, people would not want to save or deposit their monies with the banks and those who have their monies there might withdraw their monies. The most offensive thing is that nobody is willing to explain things to us,” he told Kwami Sefa Kayi.
Reacting to the same issue on the same platform, newly elected National Youth Organiser of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Sammy Awuku said “The arrogance of the communication machinery of both bank of Ghana and government is worrying”.
According to him, government should have given a lot of explanation on the issue before its implementation because already banks have started sending out text messages informing their clients of the deduction of 17.5% VAT.
“This policy will be inimical to the growth of the private sector or confidence in the banking system. I think that the handlers of the economy must be sincere to the people of this country. We need to get some answers,” he said.
However, in what can be described as a quick response to Kwesi Pratt, Sammy Awuku and others who have raised similar concerns, Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. Cassiel Ato Forson clarified in a statement released on Tuesday that deposits and savings are not going to be affected by the new tax.
“we wish to state categorically that salaries, savings, deposits, loans and payment with cheques are all exempted from VAT”, Ato Forson said.