Labour Federation petition Parliament over new tax bill

The Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) has petitioned Parliament on a new tax bill in the offing which seeks to introduce a 20 per cent excise tax on locally produced fruit drinks and bottled water.

The petition addressed to Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, Speaker of Parliament was signed by Mr Caleb Nartey, GFL President and Mr Abraham Koomson, GFL General Secretary, which has been copied to the Ghana News Agency in Tema.

The petition indicated that a draft of the Excise Duty Amendment Bill, 2022, sought to amend Excise Duty Act 2014 (Act 878) to revise the Excise tax rates for a number of products including all sweetened drinks and processed fruit juice which hitherto did not attract Excise duty.

The GFL, which is made up of 14 trade unions, described it as an attempt by the Government to further hype the operational costs of the local manufacturing industry, describing it as unfortunate for the local industries.

“We find the introduction of this new tax regime inimical to the growth of the economy as it undermines job creation and denies the State of required revenue,” the Federation stated.

The GFL added that “the survival of the local industry is already threatened by the increased cost of production and the dwindling purchasing power of consumers.”

It indicated that within the first week of this month, the Bank of Ghana (BOG) in its determination to fight inflation, which stood at 54.1 per cent as of December 31, 2022, increased its policy rate to 28 per cent adding that this obviously meant a higher cost for borrowing.

The GFL added that Value Added Tax has gone up by 2.5 per cent alongside the BOG’s recent policy thereby suffocating manufacturing companies in the country.

“Right Honourable Speaker, whilst Organized Labour’s expectation of well-crafted policies to protect local industries, the Government has rather slapped an astronomical 30 per cent increment in electricity tariffs, and about 50 per cent on water tariffs for industries effective February 1st, 2023.”

The petition stated that there was every reason to appreciate the Government’s determination to raise revenue to meet its statutory obligations.

The Federation noted, however, at this stage of the economic crisis facing the country, coupled with uncertainty about investments in bonds ahead of an agreement on the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme, the introduction of such a tax was not going to be healthy for the manufacturing industries.

It also reminded Parliament that Fuel prices remained high and there was no clear sign of a downward trend as the Cedi continues to depreciate against the dollar.

They emphasized that due to all the listed economic challenges, the GFL vehemently opposes the Excise Duty Amendment Bill, 2022 in its current state.

Source: GNA

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