Director of Operations at the Dalex Finance, Mr Joe Jackson, has said raising revenue through increased taxes during this time of the coronavirus pandemic will not be the best of decisions to take by any government including the Government of Ghana.
He said such a decision will further aggravate the plight of the citizens and businesses, hence must not be taken.
Speaking on the Business Focus programme hosted by Alfred Ocansey on TV3 Monday, July 6, Mr Jackson said: “You cannot tighten the economy at this time, even though the government revenues are really challenged and there is very little room for manoeuvre you have got to throw that budget out of the window and then borrow some more.
“You have got to borrow and then stimulate your economy.
“You have got to find ways of growing your economy and one of the things that won’t fly is to raise revenue by taxing the exiting formal sector more.
“That won’t fly, that will actually deepen the challenges we have with the economy. you have to find ways of growing that tax net and, you have to go find ways of direct taxes and not indirect taxes.”
For his part, Dr Lord Mensah, a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, said he doesn’t foresee the government reducing taxes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rather, he said, the government is expected to make funds available to the banks to make them more liquid a situation that will enable them to provide loans to businesses are reduced interest rates.
Dr Mensah told Ocansey that: “I expect that the government will find a way to reenergize the system, finding liquidity into the banks so that it can get to the various businesses. I don’t foresee taxes being reduced.”
He added : “Government is going to produce stimulus package, those packages will come through the corridors of the bank in the form of interest rates reduction, in the form of the banks having enough liquid to ensure that they distribute funds.”
Meanwhile, months after the government announced the stimulus package to support businesses in the wake of the COVID-19, Dr Edward Ackah Nyamike, President Ghana Hotels Association, has revealed no member of his association has yet received the stimulus package although they have applied to benefit from the funds.
He told Alfred Ocansey on the same show that the situation is negatively affecting their work since costumers are no longer patronizing the services of the hotels due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The government has made available GHS600million to be distributed to businesses by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI).
The NBSSI subsequently, has developed an online portal to enable small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) across the country access the GH¢600 million stimulus package for businesses.
Executive Director of NBSSI, Esi Kosi Antwiwaa Yankey, said the portal was to ensure transparency and efficiency in the disbursement of the package to applicants.
Speaking at a press briefing in Accra, she explained that the Board was in discussions with concerned stakeholders to come up with eligibility criteria to ensure that viable businesses which were in need were supported.
She stated that more than 200,000 businesses would be supported under the coronavirus (COVID-19) stimulus package for SMEs adding that the NBSSI was further engaging traders and business owners to sensitise them on the package and how they could access it.
But Dr Ackah-Nyamekeh told Ocansey that: “Four months into the pandemic no hotel member has a pesewa from this stimulus package.
The government talked about GHS600million which the NBSSI has been tasked to disburse, that was opened to all small, medium and micro-size businesses.
“The last time I checked they have received almost about 200,000 applications. The NBSSI said when you send the application, two weeks’ time they will disburse the money to you but it has not happened.
“We understand that some SMEs have received theirs but we don’t know. We have been asking the NBSSI to tell us but they haven’t.”