The government has extended its free water and electricity for lifeline consumers to June 2021, caretaker Minister for Finance, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on Friday announced.
Presenting the 2021 budget statement and economic policies of the government in Parliament on the theme: “Completion, Consolidation and Continuation”, Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the decision to extend the programme is to lessen the plight of the vulnerable.
“I am happy to announce that His Excellency the President has approved the continuation of the provision of free water to up to 5 cubic meters that are 1000 gallons per month to vulnerable groups,” he said.
Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu added: “In addition, we will continue to provide electricity to lifeline consumers up to the end of June 2021 when it is expected that many Ghanaians would have been vaccinated.”
The government in April last year announced its intention to absorb electricity and water tariffs to make up for lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant lockdown and restrictions.
Reprieve for commercial drivers
The government has also in the 2021 budget statement announced the suspension of vehicle income tax for commercial public transports, popularly called trotros and taxis, to reduce the cost of transportation under its tax relief programme.
Small businesses will also enjoy the suspension of income tax stamp payments, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu disclosed.
Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also announced tax relieves of 30% on corporate income tax to benefit hotels, restaurants, education, arts, and entertainment as well as travel and tour sectors.
“A waiver of penalty and interest on accumulated tax arrears up to December 2020 to reduce cash flow challenges will also target companies and individuals,” he noted.