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We will not burden Ghanaians with taxes – Finance Minister assures

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He stated that there was an urgent need to generate income in accordance with the implementation of the US$3 billion loan-support plan, but the government was also mindful not to burden Ghana's few taxpayers. As a result, the government would be steadfast in ensuring the successful execution of income generating measures stated in both the 2023 and 2024 budgets but not effectively implemented. "We are determined to collect taxes from those who have not paid or evaded taxes.""To generate the desired revenue to fill the gap created by the tax suspension," he stated.

Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, Ghana’s Finance Minister, has promised Ghanaians that the government will not burden them with more taxes.

Rather, the government would ’employ the hard method’ to collect income from individuals who have not been paying the required taxes, as well as those who have evaded taxes in the country.

Dr Amin Adam stated this at a press briefing on Saturday, April 13, after Ghana secured a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the country’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.

The Minister stated that the suspension of the 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity use and the GHS100 yearly fee on owners of petrol and diesel cars had resulted in a GHS1.8 billion revenue deficit.

He stated that there was an urgent need to generate income by the implementation of the US$3 billion loan-support plan, but the government was also mindful not to burden Ghana’s few taxpayers.

As a result, the government would be steadfast in ensuring the successful execution of income-generating measures stated in both the 2023 and 2024 budgets but not effectively implemented.

“We are determined to collect taxes from those who have not paid or evaded taxes.” To generate the desired revenue to fill the gap created by the tax suspension,” he stated.

Dr. Amin Adam also noted that the government was pursuing tax administration changes to guarantee that accurate assessments were performed and that people were required to pay the necessary taxes to the state in the simplest and quickest manner feasible.

The Minister was keen to point out that aggressive income collection alone would not be optimal for the country, thus there would also be a focus on spending rationalisation.

In response to a query from the Ghana News Agency on realistic expenditure management methods, he noted that the government was executing an arrears-clearing plan to resolve outstanding payments.

It was also adding additional agencies to the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) to prevent state institutions from exceeding their budgets or incurring unauthorised expenditures.

Dr Amin Adam stated that the government understood the difficulties that Ghanaians, both people and enterprises, had to face as a result of the execution of reforms under the continuing IMF loan-support programme.

While praising Ghanaians for their efforts since the programme’s start in May 2023, he asked them to be patient and sacrificial.

“Some of the reforms that we’re implementing are biting, but I know that we’ll persevere and lead together, and ensure that the benefits of the fiscal consolidation will bring significant relief to the people of Ghana so that we can be counted once again as one of the fastest growing in the world,” he told reporters.

Ms Julie Essiam, the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), offered more information on the alternative revenue mobilisation initiatives to close the GHS1.8 billion revenue deficit caused by the suspension of two tax handles.

She stated that the Commission has increased efforts to guarantee the efficient application of compliance procedures governing resident Ghanaians’ foreign income in the nation.

GRA and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have gone through credible and sustainable institutions to guarantee that the power and waste pollution levy achieves the GHS1.8 billion income that was expected.

Dr Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring that state institutions worked to shift the narrative of election spending impeding economic growth in the country.

“In Ghana’s recent history, we have not been able to successfully implement an IMF-supported programme in an election year without derailment,” the head of the Central Bank of Ghana remarked.

“The government and central bank are working to change the narrative…”And we will remain committed to ensuring that programme implementation remains firm,” he added.

Meanwhile, the IMF Board is set to accept Ghana’s GHS$360 million third tranche in June this year, after a staff-level agreement agreed between Ghanaian authorities and the IMF Mission team.

This would increase the entire payout for Ghana’s ECF arrangement, backed by the country’s Post-COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG), to US$1.56 billion.

The government has already received US$1.2 billion from the first two tranches since the beginning of the US$3 billion three-year IMF loan-support programme.

The initiative aims to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability, strengthen resilience, and set the groundwork for greater and more equitable growth.

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Cecilia Dapaah’s husband shocked by stolen money

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He was surprised, however, when investigations revealed that she, along with the other accused, masterminded the deed. On May 3, Mr. Osei Kuffuor, 85, a Professional Architect with over 50 years of expertise, stated this while under cross-examination by counsel for Sarah Agyei, the second accused. Augustine Gyamfi, Counsel for the Second Accused, stated that his client had been a loyal housekeeper for the Complainants (Cecilia Dapaah and her husband) and questioned why she should be associated to the incident. In his statement, Mr. Osei Kuffuor, the first of the six Prosecution Witnesses, stated that he was astonished when investigations showed Sarah Agyei's connection to the other defendants.

Daniel Osei Kuffuor, the husband of former Sanitation Minister Cecilia Abena Dapaah, told the High Court in Accra that he was “shocked” and “surprised” to find that one of her former housekeepers, Sarah Agyei, masterminded the alleged theft of money from them.

Sarah Agyei, he claims, was quite dependable during her five-year tenure as a housekeeper.

He was surprised, however, when investigations revealed that she, along with the other accused, masterminded the deed.

On May 3, Mr. Osei Kuffuor, 85, a Professional Architect with over 50 years of expertise, stated this while under cross-examination by counsel for Sarah Agyei, the second accused.

Augustine Gyamfi, Counsel for the Second Accused, stated that his client had been a loyal housekeeper for the Complainants (Cecilia Dapaah and her husband) and questioned why she should be associated with the incident.

In his statement, Mr. Osei Kuffuor, the first of the six Prosecution Witnesses, stated that he was astonished when investigations showed Sarah Agyei’s connection to the other defendants.

“I was astonished to learn that they were related. Because I had no suspicions for the previous five years, I was surprised to learn that she was involved in this case,” Mr Osei Kuffour told the court.

When asked by Counsel if he was astonished and “still did not believe” that the 2nd Accused was engaged in the affair, Mr Kuffuor, who was testifying as the first prosecution witness, responded, “Now that I have had all the information, I know that she is even a part of it and she was even the mastermind.”

While questioning the Witness, Counsel argued that the Witness had no information that his client (Sarah Agyei) masterminded the conduct, and that if he had such information, “you would have stated it clearly in black and white in your witness statement.”

The Witness said, “I have the information,” and that “at the time of the theft, I never imagined that A2 (Sarah Agyei) was the mastermind.”

Mr Tuffour said, “I have been in several interrogations when they were together, and I know what I heard.”

Counsel then inquired as to “which interrogation” he was present for.

The Witness then stated, “About one, two, or three,” adding, “We were just visiting and were called in.”

The Witness stated to the Court, “One occasion after A2 (Sarah Agyei) had been apprehended by the police and they were even going to the premises, and so on, we followed them.”

“We knew what was happening,” he said,” adding that, “We took interest in what was happening.”

The Witness consequently disagreed with Counsel for Sarah Agyei’s suggestion that the 2nd Accused “never involved herself in this theft,” and that, “she had been a faithful house help working for you (Witness).

Allegation

Counsel for the A2 (Sarah Agyei) said his client (Sarah Agyei) was arraigned because of the Witness’s allegations that the stolen money was shared amongst some people

“You see, one time during a search at the house, there was my wife’s jewelry box in the house and my wife said this is my jewelry box and A2 said she found the box in a garbage bin in our house and she liked it and she took it,” the Witness said.

“It was part of the jewelry stolen from our house,” he said, adding that, “We found this in her house.”

It was the case of Counsel for the 2nd Accused that, the said jewelry box was thrown away by “your wife (Cecilia Dapaah) after they had cleaned her room and asked your wife whether she can keep it.”

But the Witness, Daniel Osei Kuffuor, disagreed.

“I can tell you that nobody cleaned that bedroom/storeroom. My wife herself entered that room. Nobody was allowed to clean that room,” he told the Court.

Abandoned Jewelry box

It was the case of Lawyer Gyemfi that, after several searches at A2’s (Sarah Agyei) house, he (Witness) could not find any jewelry of Cecilia Dapaah in the 2nd Accused house.

But, the Witness said, “It was only one visit that we were there that we found this abandoned jewelry box in her house.”

The Witness,  however, said “I did not hear that,” when they went with the police the first day to A2’s house, “her own kente cloth that she used for her engagement, your wife (Cecilia Dapaah) claimed it was her kente cloth.

Further Cross-examination continues.

Breakdown of stolen cash

On May 3, Daniel Osei Kuffuor, the husband of former sanitation Minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah gave a breakdown of monies stolen from their storeroom by their house to help Patience Botwe and six others.

The 85-year-old Professional Architect with 53 years of experience said the accused persons stole two sets of $210, 000 and $200, 000 from their storeroom.

In addition to the dollars, he said another set of £300,000 belonging to him and GHc300,000 being contributions that Cecilia Dapaah’s siblings made towards the funeral of her late mother were also stolen.

“Subsequently, my wife and I found out that some of our valuables as well as huge sums of money had been stolen from the storeroom.

“This included an amount of 210,000 US Dollars which belonged to my wife’s deceased brother, Nana Akwasi Essan II alias Charles Dapaah,” he said.

Other monies he said were stolen from their storeroom were: “Two Hundred Thousand US Dollars ($200,000 USD) belonging to Dorcas Wiredua, my niece who is also my client.

“Three Hundred Thousand Euros (£300,000) belonging to me,” and “Three Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHc300,000) being contributions that my wife’s siblings and her made towards the funeral of her late mother. Fifty Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHc50,000) belonging to my wife,” he stated.

Charges

Patience Botwe, 18, and Sarah Agyei, 30, together with Benjamin Sowah, Malik Dauda, Christiana Achab, Job Pomary, and Yahaya Sumaila have all denied the various charges pressed against them – ranging from Conspiracy to steal, stealing, dishonestly receiving, and money laundering.

Despite being granted bail, they cannot meet their respective bail conditions and are still in lawful custody.

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Ghana’s economy is recovering quickly – Amin Adam

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“As a result of the policies we have implemented, economic growth has become more robust than ever anticipated. Projected to grow at 1.5% last year [2023], we grew at 2.9%.” “The signs of growth we’re seeing from the data also show that this year will be strong, and so, when I say the economy is strong, I mean it. Inflation has also been on the decline, from a peak of 54% at the end of 2022, and 12 months later, it came down to 25%. “We are working to ensure inflation reaches 15% by the end of this year. And by the end of 2027, inflation comes with a single digit.”

Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, Minister of Finance, has once again guaranteed the public that the economy will recover strongly.

He also mentioned that inflation has significantly decreased in recent months, indicating that the economy is on the right track to recovery.

Speaking as the special guest of honour at the Health Sector Annual Summit 2024, Dr Adam expressed confidence that inflation will continue to fall and be much lower by the end of the year.

“The economy is rebounding strongly, and as the manager of the economy, I can assure you that our recovery is quite robust. We face tremendous problems, yet the future seems increasingly promising.

“As a result of the policies we enacted, economic growth has been stronger than expected. We increased at 2.9% instead of the projected 1.5% growth rate last year [2023].

“The signals of growth in the statistics also indicate that this year will be robust, so when I say the economy is strong, I mean it. Inflation has likewise been declining, having peaked at 54% at the end of 2022 and falling to 25% a year later.

“We are aiming to guarantee that inflation reaches 15% before the end of the year. And by the end of 2027, inflation will be a single digit.

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Articulator truck kills four people in Kubease

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Tragically, four of the bus's passengers died on the spot as a result of their injuries, while others on board suffered varied degrees of injury. Following the event, wounded passengers were immediately transferred to the Ejisu Government Hospital for treatment.

A catastrophic accident on the Accra-Kumasi road in Kubease, close to Sekyere-Nkwanta, claimed the lives of four people, including a one-year-old baby.

The deadly crash happened when an articulated truck lost control on a specific stretch of road, drifting out of its allocated lane and colliding with a Benz Sprinter bus transporting the victims.

The force of the incident was so intense that the Benz Sprinter bus somersaulted and crashed into a neighbouring ditch.

Tragically, four of the bus’s passengers died on the spot as a result of their injuries, while others on board suffered varied degrees of injury.

Following the event, wounded passengers were immediately transferred to the Ejisu Government Hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, the corpses of the deceased were respectfully laid at Juaben Government Hospital’s mortuary.

The police have taken the driver of the articulated truck into custody to help in the continuing investigations into the horrific event.

The community and authorities are in shock and grief over the unexpected loss of life and the traumatic consequences of the incident.

As road safety remains a vital problem, this occurrence emphasises the importance of alertness and obedience to traffic laws in order to prevent more catastrophic incidents on Ghana’s roadways.

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