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Friday, July 30, 2021

Minority resists, Majority has its way as Parliament approves COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy

As they say, the minority will often have its say but it is the way of the majority that will eventually prevail. That was exactly what transpired in Parliament when the House passed government’s controversial COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy on Tuesday, March 30.

The move will see taxes imposed on the supply of goods and services of imports to raise revenue to support Covid-19 expenditure and its related matters.

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This conclusion was reached amid vehement resistance from the Minority side of the House during a debate of the 2021 budget statement.

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu had argued strongly that the inability for the Health Ministry to justify the manner in which Covid-19 funds were expended at the height of the pandemic was reason enough for the House to reject the proposed taxes.

He said there was no sign of judicious use of the resources that will accrue following the imposition of the said taxes.

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He further claimed that despite the suspension, the Financial Responsibility Act had gone a step further to spend lavishly under the guise of the novel coronavirus.

Mr Iddrisu described the bill as a regressive tax which “will impose further hardship on the Ghanaian.”

“It makes no distinction between the rich and the poor, it is an anonymous… to the NPP’s own manifesto promise of moving from taxation to production. That is a somersault of policy when even during the Covid times you’re coming with these new taxes,” Haruna Iddrisu said.

He added, “The fact that you benefited from the suspension of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, does not mean that you should act irresponsibly in terms of not prioritising government expenditure or controlling government expenditure.”

But Health Minster, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu rubbished these claims, stating that it is too early in the day to demand accountability over a pandemic that is not yet over.

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