Fallouts from 2021 budget: Don’t tax sports betting; ban it - Ato Forson urges Govt

Fallouts from 2021 budget: Don’t tax sports betting; ban it - Ato Forson urges Govt

- Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson has kicked against moves by the NPP administration to tax sports betting

- He is rather urging the administration to ban the activity

- He argued that betting is destroying the Ghanaian youth

Former Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson has called on the Akufo-Addo administration to ban sports betting.

The call by the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament came on the back of disclosure by the caretaker Finance Minister, Osei Kyei Mensa-Bonsu that the country loses over Ghs300million to leakages in the gaming industry.

Fallouts from 2021 budget: Don’t tax sports betting; ban it - Ato Forson urges Govt
Fallouts from 2021 budget: Don’t tax sports betting; ban it - Ato Forson urges Govt
Source: UGC

Mensa-Bonsu said when he delivered the 2021 Budget Statement that the Finance and Interior Ministries had been tasked to take responsibility for the industry and carved out a policy to improve revenue collection from the industry.

Speaking on Joy News’ PM Express on Monday, March 15, 2021, Ato Forson bemoaned how the industry is destroying the Ghanaian youth. For him, sports betting must be banned instead of taxing it.

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“Ghana today, we are complaining that this gambling is destroying our youth. I have read a number of articles on this. I would have thought the government will come out with a policy to restrict gambling and to even ban it,” he said.

“To run a country is not all about money,” the MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam added. “You need to preserve society as well.”

Meanwhile, Mensa-Bosnu, who is also the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs said Ghana’s total public debt increased from Ghs122billion to Ghs291.6billion as of the end of December 2020.

He disclosed this on Friday, March 12, 2021, while presenting the Akufo-Addo administration’s 2021 budget statement to parliament.

He attributed the ballooning public debt stock to the current coronavirus pandemic, the banking sector cleanup exercise among others.

According to him, the fiscal impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Ghanaian economy was Ghs19.7 billion, that of the financial sector clean-up was Ghs21billion with the cost of excess capacity charges to IPPs standing at Ghs12billion.

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But for these factors, the country’s public debt would have been hovering around Ghs238.9billion representing 58.7% of GDP, he stated.

“Despite the impact of COVID-19, the rate of growth of the public debt has been lower than what previous governments recorded,” he stated.

He said between 2004 and 2008, Ghana’s debt stock increased by 30% under the Kufuor-led NPP Administration.

Between 2008-2012, the debt stock jumped to 269% under the Mills NDC administration and 243% between 2012 and 2016 under the Mahama NDC government, and between 2016 to 2020, the country’s debt stock has risen to 137% under the Akufo-Addo administration.

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