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Ghana Government reviewing tax exemptions regime to eliminate abuse

Ghana Government reviewing tax exemptions regime to eliminate abuse


The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has stated that the government has begun a review of the tax exemptions regime to eliminate abuse and make them more efficient.

Subsequently, he said, there were consultations underway with various stakeholders to ensure that the new exemptions regime, when implemented, would reflect the country’s economic management priorities.

Dr Bawumia stated this in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of the 2017 annual International Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana (CITG) in Accra on Wednesday.

He said taxation was pivotal in the management of every economy, as it affected every facet of the economy.

The three-day conference is on the theme: “Tax reforms: Effects on investment, growth and development.”

National development
The Vice-President stressed that it was important that tax policies were designed in such a way that everyone contributed to national development in one way or another.

While the government sought to reduce the tax burden on businesses and individuals, it was at the same time taking steps to spread the remaining burden more broadly and equitably across the economy, he stated.

“We are putting in place measures that will formalise the economy, spread the tax base and increase compliance. In this regard, we will not relent in addressing irregularities in revenue mobilisation, as well as plug the loopholes that allow businesses and individuals to evade tax,” Dr Bawumia said.

He indicated that the government had set itself the target of making the country a most business and people-friendly destination, with the capacity of creating jobs and offering prosperity to all.

The Vice-President emphasised that in line with the tax reliefs announced in the last budget statement, the government was determined to shift the focus of economic management from taxation to production, as that was the only workable strategy to expand economic activities and create jobs.

The government, he said, was confident that revenue forfeited today would be restored when businesses took advantage of the improvement in the business climate to increase output, considering that a sound economy was driven on the back of the private sector.

He said the government had decided to change the narrative of Ghana’s industrial story by making value addition the critical focus of the economy.

Governance strategy

For his part, the President of the CITG, Nii Ayi Aryeetey, said the conference was structured to provide the opportunity for the participants to fully engage academia, tax administration experts, taxpayers and the general business community.

He said the theme for this year’s conference revolved around a governance strategy that had become the standard in the development agenda of most transition economies, including Ghana.

“The main idea is to re-align national strategies for revenue mobilisation to meet the needs of the growing population,” he said.

He noted that changes within the fiscal environment by way of tax reforms had, over the years, covered a wide spectrum of the tax system and that having gone through a series of significant tax reforms since the mid 1980s, it was important at this stage for tax professionals, administrators and practitioners in the public and the private sectors to examine the effects of the tax reform agenda on investment, growth and development.

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service of Nigeria, Mr William Babatunde Fowler, who chaired the opening, commended the government for its pragmatic tax exemptions which would enable the private sector to grow and contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the country.

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