Govt smartly reintroduced abolished taxes – Terkper

Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper

The nuisance taxes there were scrapped by the Akufo-Addo administration did not serve any useful purpose to Ghanaians, former Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper has said.

According to him, those abolished taxes were "smartly" reintroduced to Ghanaians in different forms.

Mr Terkper made this known, while speaking on The Key Points on TV3 Saturday, October 3, 2020.

In 2017, the government either abolished or reduced over 15 "nuisance" taxes.

These included abolishing the 17.5percent VAT/NHIL on real estates, abolishing the 17.5percent VAT/NHIL on selected imported medicines, that are not produced locally, abolishing of the 17.5percent VAT/NHIL on financial services, and abolishing import duty on the importation of spare parts.

The government also abolished 1percent special import levy, 17.5percent VAT on domestic airline tickets, levies imposed on Kayayei by local authorities, reduced import duty for all goods excluding vehicles 50percent and vehicles by 30percent, abolished excise duty on petroleum, provided full corporate tax deduction for private universities who plough back 100percent of profits into the university, reduced National Electrification Scheme Levy from 5percent to 3percent, reduced Public Lighting Levy from 5percent to 2percent, reduced special petroleum tax rate from 17.5percent to 13percent and introduced specific rates

The government also replaced the 17.5 VAT/NHIL rate with a flat rate of 3 percent for traders and granted Capital Gains Tax Exemption on stocks traded on the Ghana Stock Exchange or publicly held securities approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Mr Tekprer said: "It is not just about the Kayayei at Makola, there are porters all over. In Kumasi in Tamale taxes are being collected, so where is the law?

"The biggest nuisance taxes they said they were going to remove was ESLA but you know last year they increased ESLA.

"ESLA before the rate, is supposed to be bringing GH¢28 billion by 2022-2025. When you talk about debt to GRIDCo and the rest they were supposed to be paid from ESLA. We refinanced the VRA debt from dumso, we injected GH¢250 million from the ESLA and we refinanced GH¢2.2 billion from the ESLA knowing very well that this is what we will use it for.

"But they kept saying that it was a nuisance tax. Now you come in 2017 you don't even touch the ESLA, you leave it as it is, in fact you increased it at a point.

"So the claim that they abolished taxes didn't benefit Ghanaians why because, you have gone back to reintroduce them through other means."

But reacting to Mr Terkper's comments, a Deputy Minister of Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng, indicated that the tax cut impacted positively on Ghanaians.

"Even though in 2017 we had abolished some taxes, it is the responsibility of government as the economy moves to see which taxes will have to be reduced further, which other taxes will have to be reintroduced in order to achieve specific economic policy objectives," he said.

Source: 3 News