Government should implement new tax rates passed by Parliament – Coalition

The Ghana Tax Justice Coalition has appealed to President John Evans Atta-Mills and Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Dufuor to demonstrate their “political will and commitment” to implement proposals submitted to Parliament for approval.

“We wish to encourage all Ghanaians, especially workers’ leaders to study the budgets critically and always ensure that what has been approved by Parliament is implemented.

“In particular, tax concessions and reviewed tax rates that are aimed at alleviating the suffering of the ordinary worker should not be allowed to remain unimplemented.

Politicians should not continue to deceive the electorate by making promises that they do not intend to fulfil. The Budget is an important policy tool that should not be toyed with. If government does not intend to implement a policy, then it should not include it in the budget proposals.”

The appeal was made in a statement issued by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) on behalf of the Coalition by Mr Vitus A. Azeem, Executive Director of GII, in Accra.

The Coalition, called on both the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Parliament to avoid doing the same thing with the new tax rates that were contained in the 2012 Annual Budget that had been approved by Parliament.

“This time, the LI to operationalise the new tax rates should be laid before and approved by Parliament without any delay to take retroactive effect from January 1, 2012. The essence of the reviews of tax concessions, tax rates and personal tax reliefs is to cushion the tax payer from undue hardship due to inflation and other economic difficulties. It is, therefore, imperative that when the government announces new tax policies, all the key players should act promptly to ensure that the tax payer benefits from the policies.”

It asked the Ministry and Parliament to explain to Ghanaians, “The main reason for the delay in laying the LI before Parliament for its approval to take effect from January 1, 2011; what prevented Parliament from approving the LI to take retroactive effect from January 1, 2011? The main reason for the additional delay from July to November, 2011, for the LI to take effect after its approval in July.

“In addition, whether the Ministry and Parliament considered the negative effect of their inaction on the salaried tax payer as compared to the self-employed who waits to file returns at the end of the year; did the amount required to pay the Single Spine Salary have anything to do with this or was it for political expediency? And to assure Ghanaians that there are no other important aspects of the Budget that have never implemented.”

Source: GNA

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