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Reduction in “Talk Tax” takes effect in September, 2020 – Akufo Addo.

Parliament will begin its scrutiny and debate of the supplementary budget presented by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta today, Monday, July 27, 2020.

Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has already indicated that the House will extend the duration of daily sittings to allow ample time for the budget debate if need be.

“The House shall have to extend sittings beyond 2 pm as stipulated in article 42 to enable the completion of the single business for each day of the week under consideration,” he noted in reference to Parliament’s standing orders after the supplementary budget was presented last Thursday.

In the review, the Finance Minister requested for a supplementary budget of GHS11. 8 billion, to support government’s expenditure for the rest of the year towards the implementation of various initiatives to strengthen the economy.

Among other things, the Minister announced new measures such as a reduction in the Communication Service tax from 9 percent to 6 percent, the extension of free water supply to Ghanaians for the next three months and free electricity supply to lifeline consumers for the rest of 2020.

The Finance Minister also revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic had left the country with a revenue shortfall of GHS13.6 billion and unplanned expenditures of GHS11.7 billion.

This is set to result in a projected fiscal deficit of 11.4 percent of GDP crossing the 5 percent deficit limit set in the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Ghana’s debt stock has also risen to GHS255.7 billion, as of June 2020.

Despite the government’s optimistic outlook, some Minority legislators have accused the government of not giving the true state of the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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