Members of the Council of State, Monday, called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to deliberate pertinent national issues, including the levels of taxes deemed to be too high over the years.
The closed-door meeting, the first between the President and the Council this year, discussed among other things, current issues that have engaged the Council’s attention for urgent consideration.
These include import taxes and the vast tax exemptions.
Nana Otuo Siriboe II, Chairman of the Council, announced before the meeting went into camera that the advisory body was bringing to the President’s attention relevant matters that came up at its meetings with stakeholders on the economy.
The Council, he disclosed, had met with the Customs Divisions of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Ministry for Trade and Industry, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and the Ministry Of Finance to brainstorm on ways to address the prohibitive import tax regime and ancillary issues.
However, the Government has stated that measures have been put in place to buck the trend and boost revenue mobilisation to create a resilient footing for the economy.
The President, in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA) to Parliament, touched on some of the issues the Council brought before him.
He said the biggest challenge to the management of the economy was the issue of revenue mobilisation.
Additionally, he said, the Tax Exemption Policy had affected fiscal stability and revenue generation.
“In the last eight years, tax exemptions in respect of import duty, import VAT, import NHIL and domestic VAT have grown from GH¢392 million, that is 0.6 per cent of GDP in 2010, to GH¢4.66 billion, that is 1.6 per cent of GDP in 2018,” the President had said.
The President explained that the figures did not include exemptions from the payment of corporate and individual income taxes, concessions on tax rates, petroleum tax reliefs, customs tax exemptions enjoyed by diplomatic missions, and waiver of processing charges at the ports.
“If we continue at this rate, in less than 16 years, half of Ghana’s revenue base will be given away as tax exemptions.
“This is not sustainable, and we intend to do something about it to reverse the trend.”
Thus, Nana Otuo Siriboe expressed the hope that the meeting with the President would address the two issues, saying they needed the urgent attention of the Government.
The Council used the opportunity to commend the President for reopening the Obuasi Gold Mines, helping to restore peace to Dagbon and the installation of a new Ya-Na for the Dagbon Traditional Area.
It also patted the President on his back on the creation and inauguration of six regions, as well as the timely appointment of Regional Ministers and their Deputies.