Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) is not enthused with plans by the government to introduce three new taxes.
According to GUTA, such taxes are obnoxious and will bring more burden on the business community which is already in distress.
GUTA issued the statement on the back of reports of three new taxes currently before Parliament for consideration to help government shore up more revenue to salvage the ailing economy.
The three new taxes are Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, Excise Duty and Excise Tax Stamp (Amendment) Bills as well as the Growth and Sustainability Levy Bill.
GUTA in a statement signed by its president, Dr. Joseph Obeng is worried that the taxes in question will have rippling and cascading effects on businesses, especially SMEs, and indicated that it will resist such efforts by the government.
It also believes the move is a subtle way by the government to re-introduce what were widely considered as nuisances taxes scrapped in 2017.
The Union urged the government to widen the tax net and review policies on tax exemptions, warehousing, and free zones in other to raise the needed revenue rather than burdening its members with taxes.
Read GUTA’s full statement below;
STOP THESE OBNOXIOUS TAXES: BUSINESSES ARE ALREADY OVERBURDENED WITH HIGH TAXES AND INTEREST RATE
“The Government in 2017, realizing the importance of lessening the tax burden on businesses, removed what were deemed to be nuisance taxes.
As of now, these nuisance taxes are creeping back in various forms and folds seriously suffocating businesses in the country to death.
What is more worrying is that these taxes are being piled on a few recognizable business companies and individual business entities.
Moreover, some of these taxes have rippling and cascading effects on businesses, especially SMEs, thereby militating against their growth and survival.
Business Community in the country has done its best in terms of tax payment. Against all odds and the challenges in 2022, the government was able to exceed its revenue target. Therefore, if the government wants to increase its revenue base, the best way is to adopt innovative means to capture those businesses outside the tax net, review policies on tax exemptions, warehousing, free zones etc. to curtail the abuses, as well as prune down expenditure.
The continuous attribution of the economic challenges of the country to the global phenomena of covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine War can no longer be overstressed because the pandemic is now a new normal, with no end in sight for the Russia-Ukraine war. Besides that, businesses are the worst affected by the phenomena and deserve sympathy from the government.
As inflation rate reduces, we expected that the monetary policy rate too will come down, but unfortunately, that is not the case.
It is important to state that, currently, doing business in Ghana is extremely costly and suffocating. This makes us irrelevant in the scheme of affairs in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as well as cross-border trade within our sub-regional bloc.
Our worst fear is that, if care is not taken to reduce the unbearable tax burden on businesses, it will collapse businesses, increase poverty, and create insecurity in the country.
On this note, we wish to appeal to our Honourable Members of Parliament to, as a matter of urgency carefully and properly analyze this issue of taxes and do the needful to save this country from crisis.”