Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, says concerns that the government is burdening businesses with excess taxes are misplaced.
According to him, “I believe most of us do not pay taxes.”
He explained that with Ghana’s current revenue to GDP ratio standing at only 13% when it should have been at 20%, it means, “a third of taxes that should be paid are not being paid.”
Citing an example from the introduction of the e-VAT system, he said, “There was a company that was reporting 342,000 cedis of sales a month and paying 40,000 cedis in VAT. After the system was put in place, sales were 158 million a month and VAT was 19.8 million. So you begin to understand some of these people that GRA is over-auditing them clearly are not doing what they’re supposed to do.”
The finance minister who was speaking on the sideline of the IMF spring meeting in Washington DC said the introduction of new tax measures are not geared at overly burdening the business sector.
He explained that the current economic situation and the country’s need to ramp up revenue mobilisation following its obstruction from the international capital market are justification for the tax hikes.
He, however, is optimistic that in the near future when the country is in a much better economic place, some of these taxes will be removed to allow for more growth and expansion.
“So once you begin to get all of these appropriate taxes in place, certainly you then get into a period where you actually – as we came in 2016, you remember in 2017 we cancelled a lot of taxes – as we begin to build up then certain taxes may not be necessary, but we need the revenue now to be able to move in that direction.
“I believe that the digitalization will help, and as we move towards 18-20% revenue to GDP it will ease. Because we as a market oriented philosophy for our government, we will always look for ways in which we will make our businesses pay as little taxes as possible to ensure that employment and expansion comes into place, but there are periods in which we need to generate appropriate taxes so that we can fund the budget,” he said.
Gov’t to restrict importation of rice, ‘yemuadie’ and other products
The government is set to lay before Parliament today, November 21, a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) seeking to restrict the importation of selected strategic products into the country.
The items, numbering over 20, will include rice, tripe (popularly called “yemuadie” in Ghana), and diapers.
The government said the move is part of efforts to enhance local production.
Speaking during a press briefing in Parliament, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond said, “Stomach of animals, bladder and the chunk of intestines (yemuadie), the country had had to put in an amount of about $164 million towards the importation of these items. We are taking steps to ensure that in terms of rice, there’s no poverty of rice in the country.”
He emphasized, “By these restrictions, we are not going to ensure that there’s no food in the country at all; that is not the point at all. There have to be some efforts by the government to ensure that we go back to Acheampong’s operation feed yourself. There are about 22 items on the list, one of them, I think, is diapers.”
He announced the introduction of the Ghana Standards Authority Regulations 2023, which also seeks to streamline the manufacturing of cement to ensure competitive pricing.
Mahama doesn’t understand 24hr economy; don’t vote for him – Bawumia
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says former President John Dramani Mahama does not understand the 24-hour economy policy he is proposing.
According to the Vice President, that policy is already being implemented in the country, as hospitals, fuel companies, among others, operate a 24-hour system.
Dr. Bawumia, therefore, urged Ghanaians to ignore Mahama during the 2024 polls since he has nothing new to offer and vote for the New Patriotic Party.
“John Mahama says he has a new idea. What is the idea? He says he wants a 24-hour economy. He doesn’t even understand that policy. Today in Ghana, our hospitals work 24 hours, our electricity company works 24 hours, our water company works 24 hours, our fuel stations work 24 hours, and many chop bars work 24 hours. Today because of digitalisation, you can transfer money 24 hours, you can receive money 24 hours… So he doesn’t understand his own policy. It doesn’t make sense.”
“So I want you to vote for me in 2024 because I will bring a new vision, I will bring a new policy. Mahama is the past, Dr Bawumia is the future. If John Mahama was there, we would say we have a dumsor economy, you can’t have a 24-hour economy in dumsor. So, you want to vote for Dr Bawumia in 2024, we will take the country to new heights,” Dr Bawumia stated.
Bagbin rebukes IMF over alleged pressure to pass some bills under certificate of urgency
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of pressuring the House to pass a number of bills under a certificate of urgency.
Mr. Bagbin cited bills such as the Affirmative Action Bill, which is allegedly being pushed by the IMF as part of the conditionality for the balance of the $3 billion credit facility for Ghana.
Speaking at the Speaker’s Breakfast Meeting on Monday, Alban Bagbin insisted that the House will not be coerced by the IMF to pass the bill.
“Even in this budget, you can see the arm of the IMF in a lot of provisions in the budget. A critical bill like the Affirmative Action Gender Equality Bill has come to Parliament under a certificate of urgency. Please, it won’t happen; we won’t pass it under a certificate of urgency.”
“There are critical stakeholders we must consult and make sure we go together. We will not be dictated by the IMF; that one, you can be assured. This is a very critical bill that the IMF should know that we need the buy-in of the stakeholders to be able to implement it,” Alban Bagbin said.
The Affirmative Action Bill, when passed into law, would seek to expunge the historically low representation of women in decision-making spaces and promote democracy and development through all-inclusive participation.