President John Mahama
Government says there are no alternatives for the recent taxes imposed on Ghanaians.
It believes the measures would provide solutions to the country’s economic challenges.
President John Mahama, who recently disclosed this to the media at the Flagstaff House, said Ghanaians elected him not to take popular decisions that would make them happy but rather tough ones.
“But what was I elected for as president? To take popular decisions. If I took popular decisions to make you happy, this country would be in the ground by now. They are tough decisions. Do I take pleasure in imposing taxes on people? You don’t. But you look at the alternative and the alternative is worse,” he stated.
Overtaxing to pay road contractors
He said some of the levy was going to go to the Road Fund to pay arrears of contractors and also invest in the road sector.
“Happily, today more than 90 percent of road contractors, as a result of my indigenization policy, are Ghanaian. And so if that money goes to them, benders, cement sellers, carpenters, truck operators, excavator operators, bull-dozer operators will find jobs. And so it’s a re-investment in our own economy. That money will not go outside.”
Taxpayers are investing
“Taxes are like recycling our own money, that is an investment rather than to say we are overtaxing the people or something like that. Because the thing about government expenditure is, the money does not come from anywhere. It comes from ourselves. And especially you have a country where majority of the people who know that they must pay tax on income do not exceed 30 percent of the population.”
The President also said 70 percent of the population, which paid only indirect taxes, did not also file tax returns.
“And so the only way you can raise money really is through the tax system and the only way you can do that is through indirect taxes. And indirect taxes include consumption of petroleum products and those who consume more. If you have a V8 and you buy petrol, then you are paying more tax. If you sit in a trotro, you are paying less tax. Those are some of the things we are faced with.”
He added that the harsh decisions were in the national interest even though the benefits might not be convenient immediately.
By Samuel Boadi