Madam Speaker, I thought the Hon Colleague was going to contradict me in what I said. Madam Speaker, as I used to say, it is like he telling me that, you are accusing me of murder, but you also killed somebody somewhere. It does not make that commission less an offence.
Madam Speaker, the Official Report of Wednesday, 12th March, 2008, columns 1574 to 1579 would bear me out -- the contributions of the three persons that I have alluded to. But I have said that we
need to agree to move this nation forward. So it is good that they have made a u-turn and now they not only are saying that it should be upheld, they are going to set up a mechanism to monitor compliance. And so it is good they have found something worthy in the tax that was introduced.
Madam Speaker, I was talking about the reintroduction of the ad valorem tax. Let us examine the movement and the 2010 Budget. Madam Speaker, I told you that industry is already complaining. The Budget does not talk about the level of application; so we do not know. But if we have to go back to what existed before the advent of the NPP, as I said, it was 25 per cent on some products and 50 per cent on others.
Madam Speaker, we could examine the impact and one would come to realisation that if we consider beer, if we introduce the ad valorem on beer, the effect would be 120 per cent -- [Uproar!] --on tax on the current levels. Madam Speaker, for Malt, it is going to be 163 per cent -- [Uproar!] For the other soft drinks -- Coca-Cola, Fanta, Pepsi-Cola, it is going to be 162 per cent -- [Uproar!] -- and for Guinness Stout -- [Interruptions.]
Madam Speaker, the Hon Colleague is asking me of the source; I would let him have it. It would be laid if he so wishes, if I have the directive from the Chair; since he is not in the Chair, I would go on. Madam Speaker, so that is it. So it would have a negative effect on industry. Madam Speaker, and it is important to note that indeed, it would certainly have a corresponding increase in the VAT component of these products and prices of these products to consumers certainly would go up.
Madam Speaker, because of the sky- rocketing taxes, nobody needs to tell us that volumes of production would drop. Madam Speaker, if volumes drop,
Benin, 3 per cent, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Central Africa Republic, Gabon, South Africa, all of them are zero-rated. Madam Speaker, what are we doing? How do we make the environment competitive?
Clearly, there is no incentive to grow business. Taxes have become punitive and may I refer us to domestic investment. In 2008, it was GH¢800,000,000; today, as we speak, 2010 it is GH¢399,000,000. The economy cannot run on that. The almost GH¢400,000,000 is too paltry. Indeed, if inflation is factored into the figure of GH¢399,000,000, the real investment may not be higher than GH¢330,000,000. How many jobs will be generated by this? A climb-down drastically from GH¢800,000,000 in 2008 to GH¢330,000,000 for 2010?
We have been told by experts that the contribution in the economy, no thanks to a recline to the IMF and World Bank, and the application of their condi-tionalities, may lead to about 400-500,000 persons being rendered unemployed in the next two years. This cannot be good for any growth. Contributor after contributor from the Minority have criticized various aspects of the policies underpinning the Budget. This relates to the macroeconomic policies and programmes relating to efforts or lack of efforts to transform the structure of the economy, revenue mobilization; education; health; water and sanitation, food; livestock and cocoa; energy, forestry; petroleum; gender; environment; foreign affairs; security; trade and industry;above all, the Judiciary and even Parliament -- We have criticized not to engender a review and reform in order to prevent the stunted growth of our economy; we have criticized not to destroy.
We hope this Government will still listen to improve the socio-politico economic environment for Ghanaians. We
certainly, VAT collection will ultimately suffer and import will accordingly drop. Import duties would go down and tax revenue which otherwise should go to Government would also drop.
Madam Speaker, in the final analysis, if the tax component is punitive, manufacturers may have to lay off workers. I am using “may” because even as I indicated at the genesis, Government has not provided us with the levels; I am only referring to what obtained before the advent of the NPP Government which was 50 per cent and 25 per cent and it is commonsensical to go on that trajectory.
Madam Speaker, one may want to ask, what happened to the NDC manifesto pledge on page 45? They have indicated that “tax policy would be used to encourage people to work”. What do we see? What happened to the pledge to empower investors to expand and create new businesses as one can find on page 49 of the NDC manifesto? My Colleague the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways is laughing but this is no laughing matter. He should be shedding tears on behalf of the common people of this country, he should not be laughing.
Madam Speaker, if we are to make the Ghanaian economy competitive and industry-destination in the sub-region, we have to compare and contrast the environment in the ECOWAS zone. Madam Speaker, if you look at the tax regime on the products that I cited, one realises that in la Cote d'Ivoire, it is 7.80 per cent. We are introducing taxes which will take us -- the destination is 120 per cent; theirs is 7.0 per cent, Burkina Faso is 10 per cent, and Ghana, if you introduce the 25 per cent would be the highest in the sub-region. Indeed, Togo is 5 per cent,