We’re deeply pained by our 135-136 loss in VAT vote – Ablakwa

North Tongu lawmaker Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has been touting the achievements of the Minority in Parliament in the Budget approval.

In a Facebook post, on Thursday, 22 December 2022, the North Tongu lawmaker enumerated the Minority’s successes during the Budget Approval.

He wrote: “GHS1.3 billion (€116 million) Accra International Conference Centre Demolition and Redevelopment plans scuttled; Projections to establish new diplomatic missions in Jamaica, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago shot down; GHS80 million sleazy allocation to President Akufo-Addo’s Cathedral defeated and expunged from the Appropriation Act;

“GHS1.4 billion mind-boggling request for the infamous Contingency Vote cut drastically to GHS533 million; Anti-poor proposal to remove the e-Levy threshold defeated; Scrapping a colossal GHS27.5 million allocation to the wasteful and amorphous Special Development Initiatives Secretariat & the needless Monitoring and Evaluation Secretariat all at the Office of the President.”

He indicated that: “The 2 Secretariats have therefore been virtually collapsed; Defeated the repugnant tax measure intended to compel drivers, particularly commercial drivers to produce tax clearance certificates as a requirement for renewing driver’s license.”

Despite touting the Minority’s achievements, the MP regretted the inability of the Minority Caucaus to stand down government’s Value Added Tax (VAT).

Mr Ablakwa noted that: “Despite an unwavering determination of the NDC Parliamentary Caucus to achieve all we set out to accomplish in solidarity with suffering Ghanaians, we lost the crucial VAT vote by a narrow 136-135.”

He continued that: “This is the only item on our 8-Point Must-Win-Agenda which we failed to deliver, and for which we are deeply pained.

“We did our very best but as they say, it’s always difficult to win everything. Nevertheless, we live to fight another day.”

The North Tongu legislator added: “Together, with a high dose of patriotism and unquestionable integrity, we shall construct the Ghana we want.”

Parliament on Wednesday, 21 December 2022, approved the 2.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) increase.

Despite the minority caucus’ opposition, the majority caucus had its way with a headcount victory of 136 as against 135.

This means Ghanaians will be paying more for goods and services in 2023.

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament, successfully cut the government’s 2023 budget allocation of GHS1.4 billion to the Contingency Vote to GHS533 million.

This was disclosed by Member of Parliament for North Tongu.

“We have also successfully cut the extravagant allocation to the notorious Contingency Vote from GHS1.4 billion to GHS533 million,” he posted on Facebook.

The Minority also compelled the government to withdraw and reallocate the GHS80 million allocated in the 2023 budget for the construction of the National Cathedral to the roads and communications sectors.

Further, the said amount was completely removed from the final appropriation bill.

The MP for North Tongu, disclosing this, indicated that it means the government’s 2023 expenditure is, therefore, reduced by GHS80 million.

Source: Modern Ghana