– Ben Kumbuor
The decision by the Akufo-Addo-led government, to scrap market tolls imposed on itinerant head porters (Kayayei) as announced by Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta in the government’s first budget statement, is deceptive because such a tax does not exist, Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor, Member of Parliament (MP) for Nandom, has said.
The toll is among several taxes lined up by the government to be scrapped completely or reduced so as to bring relief to the ordinary Ghanaian and the business community.
Apart from the Kayayei market toll, excise duty on petroleum products, will also be scrapped. The government also intends to reduce the special petroleum tax rate on petrol from 17.5percent to 15percent.
Other taxes that will be completely abolished include the following: the 1v special import levy, the 17.5 percent VAT on financial services, the 17.5 percent VAT on selected imported medicines not produced locally, the 17.5 percent VAT on domestic airline tickets, the 5 percent VAT on real estate sales, duty on importation of spare parts, the 5 percent VAT on real estate sales and Kayayei market toll.
Also, the 17.5 percent VAT imposed on traders has been replaced with a 3% flat rate, while businesses that employ young graduates from tertiary institutions will get tax credits and other incentives.
Furthermore, there will be tax incentives for young entrepreneurs while the Corporate Income Tax will be progressively reduced from 25 percent to 20 percent in 2018.
Additionally, Mr. Ofori-Atta, said the Akufo-Addo government, would initiate steps to remove import duties on raw materials and machinery for production.
However, speaking in an interview with Class 91.3 FM after the Finance Minister’s presentation, Dr. Kumbour said: “I don’t believe we need to start christening children that are not yet born, what we have now are proposals and we will get to the substance of it later. But I want it to be on record that there is no national tax on Kayayei for it to be a subject of comment.”
“Secondly, let us be very clear in our mind that there is no electrification levy. We used to have an electrification levy that was about 0.004 per cent that has since been scrapped, and, so, if you claim that you are removing the electrification levy, then it doesn’t exist.”
The Minority in parliament on it part, has described the maiden financial statement of the Akufo-Addo-led government as a “419 budget”.
This, they did, by showing placards with the inscription “419 budget” when the Finance Minister, announced a number of “nuisance taxes” the government would be abolishing or reducing in the fiscal year during the reading of the budget statement in parliament on yesterday.
The minority, with their inscription, suggested government, was deceiving Ghanaians.
According to the new budget, excise duty on petroleum products, will soon be scrapped. In addition to that, the government also intends to reduce the special petroleum tax rate from 17.5 percent to 15 percent.
Additionally, other taxes will also either be abolished completely or reduced to create a conducive business environment.