At a press briefing in Accra on Wednesday, acting Chairman of the party, Mr, Freddie Blay, said the budget will be an “election-year budget” which will be replete with “reckless spending” and “corruption,” a situation which he said makes the NPP “nervous”.
According to him “the key aim of the IMF bailout is to control public expenditure to avoid the horrendous experience of reckless spending we saw in 2012, which has brought years of untold hardship on the people; caused the cedi to fall heavily, collapsed businesses, created mass unemployment, piled up huge debts, all forcing us to go for the IMF bailout in the first place”.
The 2016 budget will be last financial statement for Mr Mahama’s first term in office. Ahead of Friday’s presentation, some business groups including the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Importers and Exporters Association, Association of Ghana Industries and the Ghana Union of Traders Association have been making known their expectations.
The AGI, for example, wants tax rebates. Its Spokesperson Nana Afua Oko told Citi Business News that: “We are aware that in the budget and also in the new VAT Act, a specific VAT refund account has been set up, but the issue lingers for the mining industry as a whole. This obviously has an effect on time value for money, cash flow implication and we are also affected by the general depreciation of the cedi, so we recommend that government should expedite the passage of the revenue administration bill.”
Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association, Sampson Asaaki Awingobit also told the Accra-based station that the less tax burden the budget brings, the better. “We think that if government will not give a tax holiday from the special tax import levy, at least we wouldn’t want to see any additional taxes. We are appealing to government through the Ministry of Finance and the budget committee team that if they are looking for any additional source of revenue we wish to appeal that we do not want to hear any other additional taxes on the importing communities,” Mr. Awingobit said.
Meanwhile AGI President James Asare Adjei told Citi FM: “We cannot leave fuel which has become an integral part of every sector of the economy in the hands of some few to determine pricing. There is the need as a country to take a look at this policy of deregulation so that industries that depend so much on fuel particularly diesel to operate generators to run their businesses also have that sort of respite.”