Date: 2017-03-13

Parliament on Wednesday approved four amendment Bills to scrap taxes as proposed in the 2017 budget. The Bills are the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, Special Petroleum Tax (Amendment) Bill, Special Import (Amendment) Bill and Customs and Excise (Petroleum Taxes and the Petroleum Related Levies (Repeal) Bill.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, expressed optimism that the cuts would aid the government’s goal to stimulate economic growth.

“We are really excited that the signal is being given that these taxes need to be repealed so that the general welfare of people will be increased and that there will be tax reliefs,” he said.

The Finance Minister told Citi News he was grateful for the overwhelming approval from Parliament, stating that “we expect to meet the targets that we have, and we look forward to a good year.”

The approval of the 2017 budget itself was not that smooth, following protests from the Minority Members of Parliament.

According to the Minority, the House lacked the quorum at the time of the budget approval. In a Citi News interview, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, accused the Speaker of Parliament, Mike Ocquaye of exhibiting some bias in the matter.

The 2017 budget statement heralded the review and abolishing of key taxes which affect businesses in the aviation, finance and real estate industries. Below is the list of taxes that have been abolished and reviewed by the government. Abolished – 1 percent Special Import Levy; – 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on financial services; – 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on selected imported medicines, that are not produced locally; – Initiate steps to remove import duties on raw materials and machinery for production within the context of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) Protocol; – 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on domestic airline tickets; – 5 percent VAT/NHIL on Real Estate sales; – Excise duty on petroleum; – Special petroleum tax rate from 17.5 percent to 15 percent; – Duty on the importation of spare parts; – Levies imposed on kayayei by local authorities; – Taxation, the gains from realisation of securities listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange or publicly held securities approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); Reviewed – Reduce National Electrification Scheme Levy from 5 percent to 3 percent; – Reduce Public Lighting Levy from 5 percent to 2 percent; – Replace the 17.5 VAT/NHIL rate with a flat rate of 3 percent for traders; and – Implement tax credits and other incentives for businesses that hire young graduates.

Source: Delali Adogla-Bessa/