ONE of the ways that governments fund public investments is through taxes. So when governments propose to raise taxes, it is only telling the citizens to finance public investments of goods and services.
From the citizens’ perspective, the difficulty is that when taxes are raised, it makes cost of living dearer for them, the benefits are long term, and the promise of better public goods and services are in the future. They are, however, expected to sacrifice now.
That is why, it is understandable that the public would slam both Parliament and government over increase in taxes.
It is not surprising that there has been a huge public outcry against Parliament for being insensitive in approving the Internal Revenue Act and Internal Sector Levies Act which took effect from January 1, while the government is also being criticised for sponsoring the bill, which it says, would ensure increased revenue to support the development of the country.
Most workers interviewed by The Ghanaian Times disagree with both parliamentarians and government and accused them of not considering the plight of workers before approving the taxes.
“It is insensitive of the government to impose such hardships on us and our elected parliamentarians have let us down by approving those taxes without due diligence,” they urged.
The Times is not about to disagree with the public over the sentiments expressed but, would blame politicians for the public’s lack of confidence in them.
Often, when politicians make a case for tax increases, it comes with promised benefit, but at the end of the day the pledges are not delivered.
Meanwhile, citizens who are ready and willing to pay for increased public goods and services, are denied the promises which makes them simply not trust the politicians, if they ask them to pay more taxes.
It is a matter of fact that, the government needs more revenue to prosecute its developmental agenda and, therefore, must of necessity, raise taxes.
But what is of concern is that the pledges to channel new revenue into developmental projects never materialise because funds are diverted for other activities that do not benefit the public directly.
Our appeal therefore, is that the government, through its relevant agencies, engage in public education to convince the public on the need to pay the need taxes.
They must also educate the public that benefits of public investments tend to emerge over a long-term and it is better to pay the taxes today for a better tomorrow.
Alternatively, government should also keep its promise of providing development projects with the taxes it mobilises from the people.