Dr Mohammed Amin Adam — Minister of Finance
Dr Mohammed Amin Adam — Minister of Finance

New Finance Minister under pressure — Calls on him to remove ‘nuisance taxes’

Industry players are beginning to mount pressure on the newly appointed Minister of Finance, Dr Mohammed Amin-Adam, as they demand the removal of what they describe as ‘nuisance taxes’ from the country’s tax regime.

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The industry players believe that, the Mid-Year Budget Review expected to be laid before Parliament in the next few months can be used to remove those taxes such as Electronic Levy  (E-Levy), the taxes on electricity consumption, and the emission tax among others.

The numerous port charges are also eating deep into the finances of importers, making it difficult to produce at costs competitive to enable them to fully leverage the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).

To them, such a move will also demonstrate the commitment of Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who in the presentation of his vision to Ghanaians a couple of weeks ago, admitted that some taxes in the country’s tax structure were problematic and needed to give way.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, gave the country what many claim to be a worthy Valentine’s Day present when he announced the exit of his trusted Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and others.

Although over a dozen other ministers were removed, the conversation has heavily centered on Mr Ofori-Atta who many blame for the present economic hardships and the high debt levels the country has to grapple with. Many hold the view that, he has imposed more taxes on Ghanaians in his quest to close the revenue gap.

AGI 

President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Dr Humphrey Kwesi Ayim Darke, said Dr Amin Adam, must rationalise the tax proposals of presidential candidate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in his vision statement for the country, when he delivers the Mid-Year Budget Review.

He said Dr Amin Adam must demonstrate how government will abolish the E-levy and institute the flat rate tax while he was still in government.

“We should contextualise this; the vision of the presidential candidate is out; they have changed the Minister of Finance; now let’s see how that reflects in the Mid-Year Budget and in their manifesto, so we should be pushing for how these can be synchronised in their manifesto,” he told the Graphic Business in an interview in Accra on the expectations of AGI of the new Finance Minister.

Engagement

He said his outfit expected the new minister to engage the association to discuss the issue of taxes on industry and how it could be mitigated to ensure their growth and survival.

“His appointment is good. He comes with fresh thinking, fresh perspectives which I believe should be in tandem with that of the current leader of the party, Dr Bawumia,” he stated.

Reflecting more on the Mid-Year Budget Review and the vision of the Vice President, Dr Ayim-Darke expressed the hope that Dr Bawumia’s vision will be reflected, adding that the strategy of the government going forward must align with the Vice-President’s vision.

Dr Bawumia in his address to the nation a fortnight ago announced plans to abolish the E-levy, Emissions tax and other levies as part of a broader tax reform aimed at boosting government revenue and fostering a cashless society if he is elected President. 

Expressing concern over significant revenue losses estimated at $24 billion or 13 per cent of GDP due to many individuals and businesses operating outside the tax system, Dr Bawumia outlined his reform agenda, which includes abolishing taxes such as the emissions tax and tax on betting to streamline the tax regime and enhance revenue generation. 

"The current tax system, in place since independence, has proven ineffective." Dr Bawumia admitted in his vision statement which many consider rhetorical.

AGI expectations

Dr Ayim Darke said with Mr Ofori Atta out, Dr Bawumia through the new Finance Minister who is said to be his choice for the position when he becomes President, has the opportunity to now remove the nuisance taxes negatively affecting the members of AGI and other members of society.

“Dr Bawumia should start demonstrating the viability of some of his vision for the country. He should start cutting down on expenditures, and where he believes that he can synchronise and increase domestic revenue, he should start demonstrating it, by rationalising and ensuring the removal of the taxes he promised to do away with if voted as president,” he said, adding that, now is the time to do so through Dr Amin Adam.

Taxes

Dr Ayim Darke told the Graphic Business that taxes were now the big issue and would be the centrepiece of this year’s election. 

He charged the presidential candidates of the two major political parties in the country to evaluate how taxes were affecting the competitiveness of factories in the country and proffer solutions to ensure the sustainability of their businesses.

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