The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), has given thumbs-up for Government’s commitment to reduce corporate taxes to relieve the burden on business and industries.
“ICU is however waiting patiently for government to implement commitment which was contained in the ruling party’s Election 2016 manifesto. “It is good that government says it was going to reduce taxes which of course included overtime tax and pay-as-you-earn tax (paye) as Ghana’s tax burden is too high within the West African sub-region”, Mr Solomon Kotei, General Secretary of ICU has said.
Speaking to the media in Accra on the sidelines of the just-ended ICU Accra Regional Conference held in Accra, Mr Kotei said: “One of our biggest joys (industrial stakeholders) was when government said it is going to reduce the corporate tax from 35 to 25 per cent.
“But since the new government is yet to settle down on the issue of taxes with the Finance Minister, we will see which areas they will hold immediately. “So we believe as government settles down, the nitty gritty will bring us to the overtime tax and then the Paye, even including the SMS tax”, Mr Kotei explained.
He said the ICU would give government 90 days to settle down and then would initiate talks on issues affecting workers. He said presently, the taxes that workers paid were too high, and for those workers who do overtime, the taxes they paid were higher and even beyond the social security they contributed.
On what the relationship between employer/employee should be under the current government, Mr Kotei said: “We believe if they are a listening government. “And not just listening but proactive to take issues of concern that are raised, not just discuss them and say we are hearing you, we are listening to you, then we need to see more pragmatic and proactive application of issues of real concern.
“By that we are going to have a very labour-friendly government relationship. If they don’t and they give us an under-man hearing then you will see lots of agitation because that is our strength”.
Meanwhile, Mr Kotei said the ICU had over the years been mindful of policies that had led Ghana’s inland and sea ports to bring in all kinds of goods that were crippling the primary factories and industries “is not doing well with us”. “In fact one of the things we are going to take to government is the fact that if they have dreamt of bringing one district; one factory and the existing factories are not finding their feet, then we are saying how feasible will that be.
“We believe the current ones that have helped us since independence up to date that are just grappling to be able to survive, some injection of a good playing field should be granted to them. “And then again we are very mindful about the several factories that are being brought in the country and what the effect of such policies would have on existing companies”, Mr Kotei stated.