Tema, Nov. 20, GNA - The People’s National Convention (PNC) has expressed mixed feelings on the 2022 Economic Policy and Budget which was presented to Parliament by Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance.
The PNC in a statement signed by Ms Janet Asana Nabila, General Secretary and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Tema said the Party received the budget with mixed feelings because it came with a mixture of some good and bad news.
“Sustaining the flagship programmes such as the Free SHS, LEAP, Digitization Agenda, Jobs and development initiatives such as the NABCO programme, YEA, Youth in Afforestation programme and NAELP is good news.”
It described as good news the introduction of a new programme, dubbed the YouStart initiative which if implemented religiously would go a long way to alleviate the suffering of the teeming youth of the country.
The PNC stated that Business Incubation Centers must be established by implementing agencies to review and assess proposals, adding that the selection for funding must be devoid of party politics.
It added that upon selection, financing should be done by the banks (logistic financing) to minimize the risk of misappropriation and non-payment of loans to successful applicants.
The party indicated that the new business owners under the initiative must be coached and mentored overtime to ensure sustainability and value for money invested.
The statement noted that figures regarding the macroeconomics variables, such as the inflation rate, debt to GDP, the primary balance, amongst others had not been favourable.
The PNC stressed that the Finance Minister’s attribution of it to the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy put questions on his earlier claim of the strength and the resilience of the economy before the pandemic.
“As a country, we are in difficult times; cost of living is rising, farmers are bitterly lamenting about inadequate basic farm inputs, traders are complaining of the high cost of doing business and for that, we expect prudent measures that would alleviate the suffering of the masses.
“For the PNC, the introduction of the E-Levy coupled with a proposed 15 per cent increase in fees by state institutions would not ease the suffering of the masses”.
The statement indicated that “the rate is too high and stands the chance of discouraging citizens from transacting businesses electronically.
“We recommend that the government should negotiate with the telecommunication companies to either abolish or reduce the charges for persons initiating transaction but those who withdraw cash using mobile transaction should pay the full Levy.”
The PNC intimated that Ghanaians, should not be taxed for being efficient in going cashless, and added that government must sustain the increasing usage of mobile money transactions by the huge percentage of the unbanked Ghanaians, by making it more attractive with affordable charges and not exorbitant ones, “this underscores the policy of digitization and inclusiveness.”
Commenting on the proposed abolishment of road tolls, the PNC stated that the road toll collection points were a nuisance, caused unnecessary traffics, and made the movement of goods and rendering of services from one point to another very costly.
They however stated that removing them should take into consideration the revenue collectors at the toll booth and called for alternative livelihood programmes and markets respectively for tollbooth operators and hawkers who were mostly women and the physically challenged.
The PNC leadership assured Ghanaians that “a future PNC government shall institute strong measures to plug leakages in the economy to increase revenue mobilisation.
“The PNC shall equally pursue a programme to rope in more working Ghanaians to pay direct taxes thereby reducing the tendencies to indirectly levy Ghanaians on almost all essential goods and services. Again.”
“The PNC shall priorities its expenditures to stimulate growth and ensure local productions of our basic needs thereby cutting down on imports and implement pro-poor policies to eradicate poverty.”