The Minority in Parliament singled out five issues it wanted to be revised in the 2022 budget before offering its endorsement.
The minority boycotted the budget approval following its contentions with the policy document.
Despite the Majority MPs insisting the budget had been passed, the government has agreed to make some concessions following the Minority’s demands.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, outlined these concessions at a press conference on Monday, December 6, 2021.
The hot topic of the status of the E-levy, however, went unaddressed.
The Finance Minister wrote to the Speaker of Parliament with details of modifications in response to concerns by the Minority and their stakeholders.
Suspend the Electronic Transaction Levy
In response to the call for the suspension of the e-levy, the Finance Minister said the government would continue consultations with the Minority in Parliament and other relevant stakeholders “with the view to achieving consensus and reverting to the house in the shortest possible time.”
The minister maintained that the e-levy represents the best opportunity in the medium term to broaden the tax base and meet the tax-to-GDP ratio of 20 percent.
Withdrawal of Agyapa
The NDC Minority raised alarm over the appearance of Agyapa in the budget statement, reiterating its opposition to the deal, which seeks to collateralize the country’s mineral resources.
In response, the Finance Minister said the budget would be revised to amend the two paragraphs that contain references to mineral royalties collateralisation.
“Any reference to Agyapa was for information purposes and was not reflected in the fiscal framework of the budget,” he said.
Provide for Tidal Waves Disaster
The Minority demanded that the Government incorporate measures to address tidal wave flooding and the Blekusu Coastal Protection Project in the budget.
The Finance Minister said the government shall begin a feasibility study costing GH¢10 million and broaden the scope of the study to consider a more comprehensive solution to protect Ghana’s coastline.
Re-construct the wording relating to the Aker Energy
Relating to GNPC’s acquisition of stakes in Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum, the minority wanted the revised Budget to reconstruct paragraph 829 of the rejected Budget to reflect developments in Parliament on the matter.
The Finance Minister said the paragraph would be amended to reflect the resolution of Parliament dated
July 6, 2021, that “the terms and conditions of the loan for the acquisition of the shares shall be brought to Parliament for consideration pursuant to article 181 of the Constitution.”
Review the Benchmark Value for Imports
The Minority called for concessions to be given to importers following the decision to restore the Benchmark Values of imports.
In response, the Finance Minister said the government will avert any hardships to importers and consumers while safeguarding the interest of local manufacturing industries to secure and expand jobs for our people.
The minister explained that the restoration of the Benchmark Values of 43 out of 81 line items was to promote local manufacturing, including the assembling of vehicles.
“It is important to note that this adjustment affects only 11.4% of the total CIF value, of which 50% is for vehicles. From our analysis, the potential increase in retail prices should be relatively insignificant and therefore inflation should be muted,” Mr. Ofori-Atta explained.