“Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 921)”. Mr Speaker, this is very important. Then the “Public Procurement (Amendment) Act”, 2016 (Act 914)”.
Mr Speaker, how can the Act in 2003 be 921 and the amended Act in 2016 be 914? Mr Speaker, that is something that has to be corrected in the Budget Statement.
Mr Speaker, I will go to my main contribution. I would like to talk about revenue measures that we have in the Budget Statement.
Total revenue as estimated in the Budget Statement is supposed to grow by 33.9 per cent, which is the tax revenue, from 2016 outturn of GH¢25.7 million to GH¢34.4 million.
Mr Speaker, in the Budget Statement, the outturn for 2016 tax on oil companies was GH¢42 million; this can be found at page 20, table 6. Tax realised by
Government in 2016 from oil companies was GH¢42 million. Mr Speaker, expected tax revenue from oil companies for 2017 is zero, while in 2016, Government realised GH¢42 million tax revenue from oil companies.
Mr Speaker, one thing that struck me is on paragraph 176, page 40 and it states that expected petroleum receipt is GH¢2.358 billion, representing 231.2 per cent increase over 2016 revenue. So, if the revenue from petroleum receipts will increase by 231.6 per cent, how come they do not expect any tax on the oil companies? Does it mean that the companies would not make any profit from which tax will be derived?
The Hon Minister for Finance must take note of this, and make the appropriate correction, and tell us how much tax is expected from the petroleum companies.
Mr Speaker, the Budget Statement also talks about broadening of the tax base. If we talk about broadening of the tax base, it involves two or three items -- one, making sure that more people are brought into the tax net. People who earn income but do not pay tax are now brought into the tax net. This is what we call taxable population. So, broadening the tax base means that they would increase the taxable population.
Mr Speaker, another one is to make sure that they bring in more products. Products that hitherto were not taxed are also brought on board. This is called taxable goods. They would be broadened by increasing the number of taxable goods and taxable population. This can also be done in terms of lowering the income tax threshold. Once the threshold is lowered, it covers more people.
Mr Speaker, but is there anything in the Budget Statement to ensure that the tax base is broadened? No! There are two things that are said in the Budget
Statement. On paragraph 170, page 39, the Government would complete the National Identification Scheme (NIS), and also the National Digital Address System (NDAS).
Now, Mr Speaker, the emphasis of this Budget Statement is on paragraph 170, which says that, once they complete the NIS and the NDAS, they will broaden the tax base. When are these two things going to be completed, before they based their calculation in terms of broadening, and, for that matter, increasing their tax revenue? This is because, if they complete these systems before they can know whether they would capture more people to pay tax.
They will do all these this year. Whether they will complete the process this year, they do not know they based their estimation on this assumption that they would complete the NDAS and the NIS, and for that matter, they would broaden the tax base. Mr Speaker, that is something that we cannot achieve.
Mr Speaker, paragraph 796 on page 136 talks about abolishing one per cent Special Import Duty. Import duty for 2016 yielded about GH¢4.1 billion. They estimate to increase this by 63 per cent to GH¢6.7 billion, yet they are abolishing some of the import duties. They are abolishing duties, and they would not earn that income or revenue, and yet they estimate that they would increase the import duty by 63 per cent. Mr Speaker, this can never be achieved.
Mr Speaker, again, the Budget Statement wants to abolish import duty on spare parts. This is to decrease taxable goods. Once taxable goods are decreased, the base is not broadened. Mr Speaker, there are questions that we need to ask.
Mr Speaker, if the consumer is the target beneficiary, what is the mechanism put in place to ensure that the importer who does not pay the duty does not transfer this on to the price of the spare parts, so that the consumer benefits? What is the mechanism in place? There is nothing in the Budget Statement to show that there is a mechanism in place.
Mr Speaker, another question is, what type of spare parts are involved? Are they used ones, the new ones or both? Mr Speaker, we do not know whether the target is for used spare parts, new ones or both. That is not clear in the Budget Statement.
Again, Mr Speaker, why is it only spare parts? What went into the selection of spare parts? Why is it not any other product, but spare parts?
Mr Speaker, the Government in 2016 made a balance of payment surplus of US$247 million. This was as a result of reduction in import duty by 7.2 per cent, and an increase in export duty by 5.3 per cent. Mr Speaker, this is gradually turning the country from import dependent to export-led economy. Once they remove the import duty on these products, they will make sure that Ghana becomes a dumping ground for these imports. So, they are bringing the country back to import dependency.