Ghana lost GH¢27b to tax exemptions in 12 years

Ghana lost GH¢27 billion to tax exemptions in twelve years – from 2008 to 2020, and so when Parliament on Tuesday began the debate on the Mid-year budget review, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Kwarteng, the Chairman of the Finance Committee, who opened the debate, kicked against the granting of tax exemptions to individuals and corporate entities. 

He reiterated that exempting individuals in the name of investment promotion created two problems; “the first is that we deny Ghana the opportunity of communicating that our investment climate is friendly because the taxes are in place”.  

“But more importantly, Mr Speaker, by encouraging the practice of selecting individuals and exempting them from taxation, we are creating the opportunity for corruption.”  

“I take this opportunity again to call on not just the Government but also on ourselves to ensure we get everybody to pay taxes.”  

He reiterated the need for everyone to pay his or her fair share of the taxes and that “if we want to lower taxes, we should do so for everybody”. 

Mr Kwarteng said the practice of keeping taxes in delay and yet seemed to exempt selected individuals from paying those taxes was unhelpful. 

“We should tell everybody, Mr Speaker, to contribute to our efforts at mobilising domestic revenue.” 

He urged Ghanaians, especially politicians, to stop prophesying doom for the nation’s economy, adding; “whilst our government is making the effort to ensure a vibrant economy for us, we sit here and we make damning statements about our own economy, just because we want to achieve political ends”. 

He urged his colleague members of Parliament to ensure that through the debate they exchanged ideas to help improve the economy, rather than being pessimistic. 

He appealed to them to focus on marketing Ghana’s economy and getting the international community to give the country the needed support to live beyond aid. 

It would be recalled Mr Ofori-Atta, on July 19, 2022, informed Parliament that the state lost GH¢27 billion to tax exemptions between 2008 and 2020.  

That, he said, caused the country’s revenue to dip to about GH¢1.8 billion in 2020. 

Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, on Monday, July 31, 2023 presented the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to the House.

Source: GNA

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