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Ghana said to be losing $2.7b to tax evasion and incentives every year

Ghana is losing about $2.7 billion every year to tax evasion and incentives to multinational companies, Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu, a member of the Tax Justice Coalition has said.

Mr. Ahenu who is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF),  cited a research by the Advertisers Association of Ghana (AAG) and called on the Ghana government to amend sections of the Internal Revenue Act 2000 that gives tax incentives to multi-national companies in the country.

Section of the Act 592 provides tax incentives and holidays to some companies listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

But, Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu, the Chairman of the Brong-Ahafo Regional Chapter of the Tax Justice Coalition, said the exemptions for the companies had lost its significance, hence, the need for the amendment.

Speaking at a community forum on tax campaign held at Kwatire in the Sunyani West District on Monday, Mr Ahenu said government could minimize international borrowing and push her developing “Ghana beyond aid” agenda, if the tax exemptions for the multi-national companies were scrapped.

The forum was organized by the Coalition, a group made up of civil society organizations and works to promote tax education on the need for people to pay their taxes, in collaboration with GLOMEF, anti-corruption and media advocacy NGO with support from AAG.

It was attended by petty traders, traditional authorities, Assembly members, artisanal workers and small scale business entrepreneurs.

Similar fora would be held at Odumase in Sunyani West, Techire, Adrobaa, Tanoso and Afrisipakrom in Tano North and Abesim in Sunyani Municipalities.

The research, which was conducted in 2016, further showed that Ghana in 2014 alone lost $1.2 billion through corporate tax incentives.

Mr Ahenu said developing countries lose over $150 billion annually from a form of tax incentive- corporate income tax exemptions, or nearly $3 billion every week.

He explained that the government needed enough resources to move children from studying under trees and solve the national infrastructure challenges, and this could be achieved if tax holidays were scrapped to enable the nation to widen her tax and revenue net.

Mr Edward Ayabilah, a tax educator and member of the coalition, noted that the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), had increased to over nine percent, hence, the need for the multi-national companies to pay tax to propel the country into middle income bracket.

He advised citizens and tax payers to pay their taxes for the various Assemblies to generate the required resources needed for development.

Nana Kwame Afram Denkyira, Programmes Officer of the AAG, underscored the need to engage policy makers to ensure fairness and transparency in tax collections in the country.

“It is very necessary to generate public support to help increase momentum on campaign against tax injustice”, he added.

Source: GNA

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