Ghanaian traders kick against new tax on imports

taxThe Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) on Tuesday said the recent introduction of additional tax of two per cent on imports based on Cost, Insurance and Freight by the government was unjustifiable.

Mr George Kwaku Ofori, GUTA President said: “The introduction of the tax for the purpose of generating more revenue to meet government expenditure is not only unjustifiable, but also very inimical to doing business in the country, because it adds unnecessary cost to doing business, thereby, weakening the financial resources of the business community, especially, working capital”.

He said the inability of the revenue collecting agencies to collect more revenue at the ports was due to combination of factors that were militating against the effective and efficient operations of the port, which of course, was not the making of the innocent hard working importer, who struggled against odds to sustain the national economy.

Mr Ofori was speaking during a press conference organized by the umbrella body of petty traders to outline pertinent issues that militate against the growth and development of not only the trading sector, but also the growth, development and prosperity of the private sector of the economy as a whole.

He said due to the failure of government to invest more in the operations of the ports and make it more viable, efficient and competitive enough to facilitate trade and do business at a reasonable cost.

“It is such investments that can help make the port brisk in terms of business to generate more revenue that is required for the state,” Mr Ofori stated.

He said some of the problems are the need for expansion of the port facilities to drastically reduce congestion if not eliminate it and the lack of adequate equipment such as elevators, among others.

The GUTA President said the two per cent special tax was therefore not necessary and should be abolished to save the private sector from being fleeced of their financial resources.

“We see the two and half per cent increase in the Value Added Tax rate also as not necessary. The comparison of Ghana with European and other African countries in defense of the increment is untenable. It is like comparing apples with oranges. This because, the living conditions in those countries are vastly different from what pertains here in Ghana, therefore such comparison should cease,” he said.

He said the bane of our economic woes was the expenditure rather than revenue generation, adding that, government and all stakeholders in both the public and private sectors of the economy to come together to evaluate the national expenditure patterns.

He bemoaned the over bloating of budgetary allocations and the overvalued and highly inflated cost of projects of some state establishments, which needed to be seriously checked by government.

Mr Ofori said: “As a nation we need to set our priorities. In most cases we seem to be attempting to do everything to please people; perhaps for political expediency or gains or to just satisfy pressing demand from certain community.

“We need to strictly set ceilings for all the numerous demands, even if they seem important to the nation.”

Source: GNA

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