The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described as callous and insensitive, the government’s reversal of the benchmark value discounts introduced in 2019.
The party argues that the decision will further exacerbate the suffering of Ghanaians.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, January 5, 2021, the NDC said it was displeased with the government’s decision and said it was an attempt by the goverment to make up for its mismanagement of the economy.
The Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi, who addressed the press conference, criticised the government for the decision and said it would also worsen the plight of Ghanaians.
Mr Gyamfi bemoaned the resort to taxation by government to climb out of the country’s precarious financial situation, when other measures like expenditure cuts could help address the imbalance.
“This terrible decision comes at a time when the national currency is depreciating and world commodity prices are increasing at an alarming rate, with freight charges and port handling charges being extremely high. More importantly, the callous decision by government to reverse benchmark value discounts comes at a time Ghanaian businesses, startups, parents and households are reeling under a yoke of excessive taxation, persistent increases in fuel prices and high cost of living never before witnessed in the annals of our country.”
“Furthermore, the reversal of benchmark value discounts on selected imported goods reinforces
our long-held view that this Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government is an insensitive and callous
administration which does not have the wellbeing of the Ghanaian people at heart. These are the very people who promised, among other things, to move this country from taxation to production, but have yet again pulled another deception on Ghanaians relative to import duty and Port charges. Never has a government been this cunning and untruthful to the people in our history as a country.”
He further rejected the notion that COVID-19 was responsible for the present economic downturn, which government has argued necessitated the raft of taxes introduced in the 2021 and 2022 budgets.
He said COVID-19 had rather offered an opportunity for Ghana to receive unprecedented financial support from international donor agencies including the IMF and World Bank, as well as Central Bank support running into over GH¢20 billion.
These, he said were more than adequate to compensate for any shocks to the economy during the pandemic, and wondered how government could still blame COVID-19 for the poor state of the economy.
The NDC Communications Officer attributed the financial challenges of the country to “reckless election related expenditure” and called on government to refrain from over-reliance on taxation, which was imposing severe hardships on Ghanaians.
“We wish to make the point, that this catastrophic decision has been occasioned by the self-inflicted economic malaise we presently find ourselves in, with our economy in tatters and government simply unable to find money to do anything. After five (5) years of economic mismanagement and reckless election-driven spending, which have taken the country back to its HIPC days, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government has decided to punish the already-burdened Ghanaian people with more hardships for their own recklessness and mismanagement,” Sammy Gyamfi said.
He further called on all Ghanaians to rally efforts to kick against the reversal of the benchmark value discounts.