Tax Exemptions Law will protect country’s revenue – Coalition Chairman
The current economic and financial challenges confronting the country make it even more imperative to pass the Tax Exemptions Bill to protect the country’s revenue base, Mr Vitus Azeem, Chairman of the Tax Justice Coalition, Ghana (TJC), has said.
Mr Azeem said various studies had shown that the existence of a Tax Exemptions Law would save the country millions of Ghana Cedis every year to support her development initiatives.
He stated this when making a presentation at a national stakeholders’ roundtable discussion in Accra on Ghana’s Tax Exemptions Bill.
It was organised by the TJC Ghana with support from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, ActionAid and Africa Centre for Energy Policy as part of its legislative advocacy project dubbed: “The Ghana Revenue Programme”.
It was on the theme: “Sustainable Financing of Ghana’s Development: Domestic Revenue Mobilisation and Exemptions Bill in Ghana.”
More than 60 participants, including TJC Ghana Members, civil society organisations, private sector actors and the media attended the meeting.
For some time now, the country has been working to pass a Tax Exemptions Bill, to amongst others, rationalise the current exemptions regime by varying or limiting the scope, where necessary, and consolidating existing statutory provisions on exemptions, set clear eligibility criteria, as well as provide for monitoring, enforcement and evaluation of exemptions.
Mr Azeem said the passage of the Tax Exemptions Bill would help plug all the revenue leakage associated with unregulated tax exemptions, saying “this is more than the yield of the tax increases that have been announced” in the current budget.
He said, “This absence of a Tax Exemption Act is one of the contributors to the new taxes (E-levy, etc) and other tax hikes to plug revenue shortfalls.”
He, however, raised concerns with some sections of the Bill, including the one that gave powers to the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority to remit assessed tax or extend the date on which a tax was payable, saying this could be subject to a lot of abuse.
He, therefore, called on the Executive and the Legislature to incorporate the inputs gathered by the TJC Ghana as part of its nationwide consultations on the Bill to ensure a robust law that would effectively serve its intended purpose.
Mr Louis Acheampong, the Coordinator of TJC Ghana, said the coalition would now undertake media engagements on the Tax Exemptions Bill as well as monitor Parliamentary deliberations on the Bill and present its inputs to the government to help fine-tune the Bill for the benefit of the country.