President Nana Akufo-Addo told Ghanaians that we were sitting on “plenty of money” and yet we were still hungry as a result of the gross incompetence and maladministration of the then John Mahama-led government.
That was when Nana Akufo-Addo and his political friends of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were in opposition.
When Nana Akufo-Addo became the President of Ghana, he boldly promised a better Ghana, beyond aid.
How the Nana Akufo-Addo led government was to elect various infrastructure, construct roads, finance his popular Free SHS policy, and at the same time run the country without reliance on aid was knitted into his earlier message—we can generate so much money internally as we had the capacity.
But there was another exciting obstacle, this internal generation of revenue does not in any way include increasing or introducing new taxes. For the previous Government was regularly crucified for its tax regimes.
On many occasions, Nana Akufo Addo and his now Vice, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia stated that Ghanaians were being exploited with taxes by the Mahama-led government and they were the saviours, offering the needed redemption.
In November 2020, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia stated that the New Patriotic Party under the leadership of Nana Akufo-Addo had abolished fifteen (15) taxes within its first term in office and that these taxes were abolished despite revenue challenges the NPP inherited from the incompetent Mahama government.
“We have abolished or reduced over 15 taxes and levies to reduce the burden of taxes on businesses and individuals and this is unprecedented in the history of economic management in Ghana. It has never happened in the history of Ghana,” he stated.
During President Akufo-Addo’s inauguration in January 2017, he stated that “We will reduce taxes to recover the momentum of our economy,”—leaving many to wonder how taxes were going to be cut to enable such economic growth.
Armed with various promises of no-tax-increase and efforts to even cut existing tax rates, Ghanaians were shocked yesterday to hear that an everyday service (Mobile Money) heavily used by the “poor” is to be levied by the same Government led by the same people who chastised the previous Government for imposing certain taxes.
In fact, the Vice President of Ghana-Dr Bawumia who is tipped to become the successor of Akufo-Addo stated in August 2020 that he did not believe that Mobile Money transactions should be taxed such that the ordinary users will carry the burden of a levy.
He said: “I don’t think Mobile Money should be taxed because most of the people who use the service are poor people so if you put more taxes on it they will suffer”.
Yet, the Nana Akufo-Addo’s Government is to now charge “an applicable rate of 1.75% on all electronic transactions covering mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments and inward remittances, which shall be borne by the sender except inward remittances, which will be borne by the recipient.”
Pathetically, Dr. Bawumia and the others are going to defend this—aggressively. And backtrack on the fact that Mobile Money is mainly used by the poor.
Politicians are known for their hostility to maintaining electoral promises but when failure to adhere to a promise drastically affects the poor in society, it shouldn’t be deemed as conventional politics but tragic—even if ridiculous.