The 2015 Budget: Tough Times Ahead!

The government yesterday, presented its fiscal budget for 2015, which projected very tough times ahead.

The singular aspect of the budget, which told the entire story, was the proposed 17.5 per cent increase in tax on petroleum products.

Indeed, since the proposal was announced in Parliament by the Finance Minister, Mr. Seth Terkper, it has generated intense public discussions.

This is so, because Ghanaians are already reeling under very harsh economic conditions, and the proposed increase in petroleum prices, however small, would definitely worsen their plight.

Nonetheless, the government intimates that the increase is necessary to recover fully, the cost of importing the fuel products and to raise revenue for its developmental agenda.

This, indeed, is a tough and unpopular decision for the government, since it knows too well that the decision is bound to cause disaffection, and yet   is prepared to go for it.

Much as it is a fact that, governments always need more revenue to pursue their developmental agenda, it is also necessary to consider the impact the decision would have on a people going through tough times.

The discussions on the streets is that the budget contains nothing beneficial for the people; not even the decision to provide tax incentives in some key sectors of the economy.

The government has decided to remove taxes on pharmaceutical inputs, and some imported drugs, printing materials and some agricultural inputs, in order to increase production and create jobs for the people.

This is significant and ought to be commended, but pales into insignificance due to the proposed 17.5 per cent tax increase on petroleum products.

The Times shares the concerns of the people of Ghana, and hopes that the government would find other means to alleviate the hardships the people are facing.

Though we appreciate the fact that the budget ought to be harsh to correct the fiscal imbalances, we also urge the government to check its expenditure and waste in the system, as well as rededicate itself to fight corruption.

A combination of all these is likely to help it to manage the macro-economy for the benefit of all.

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