The Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG) has described the signing of the three revenue bills into laws by the President as disappointing.
FABAG says these revenue policies go against the One District One Factory (1D1F) programme because the factories are going to be overburdened with taxes.
Executive Chairman of the FABAG, John Awuni said “This is very disappointing because a death warrant has been signed for firms. I will also say it’s a complete contradiction of the mantra of the government on 1D1F. Government has shot itself in the foot because you can’t say you are prompting industry and then come out with taxes that will kill the industry.”
“It is mind blogging the way we run our system. Our system of taxes is not engineered in a way to create room for industry to grow. Issues of industry development remain the same. Nothing has changed and when we talk about promoting industry, you come in with this whole array of taxes that are basically killer, it is shocking”, Mr Awuni told Accra-based Citi.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assented to the bills on Monday April 17.
They are the Excise Duty Amendment Bill 2022, the Growth and Sustainability Left Bill and Income Tax Amendment Bill. They are now laws.
They were passed on Friday, March 31 by a 136-137 majority decision much to the surprise of supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The passage raised concerns among stakeholders.
For instance, the General Secretary of the Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) Abraham Koomson said the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta was confused.
“This government, they are confused especially the Finance Minister who doesn’t know what he is doing. Already, about seventeen taxes are being paid, we have import duty which is 5%, import VAT 15%, processing fee, ECOWAS Levy, Network Charge VAT, Network Charge Covid-19 levy, Health, Ghana’s Shippers Authority SNF fee, Import National Health Insurance, Network Charge National Health Insurance, IRS Tax deposit, Special Import Levy.
“Seventeen taxes that are being paid before these three new ones so we don’t need taxes again,” he told journalists.
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) also registered its disappointment at the passage of the bills.
The association said the approval came on the heels of an already harsh business climate.
“We continue to experience a tax regime that does not motivate local production and formal business operations.
“We denounce the lack of stakeholder consultation on such fiscal policies, which have negative impact on businesses. AGI took steps to make input to the bills and it’s
obvious that our submissions did not receive the consideration we expected,” a statement issued by the AGI said.
However, following the concerns against the passage, Country Senior Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC Ghana), Vish Ashiagbor, said the President cannot decide on his own to amend them.
In his view, if there is going be any amendment at all, the bills have to go through the parliamentary process that got them approved.
“I am not a lawyer nor do I claim to know about Parliamentary procedure but as far as I know, once the legislature has passed a bill into law the only thing left is to receive presidential assent.
“I stand to be corrected but I do not believe the President can choose to strike out clauses 1, 2 and 5 for example and leave the rest, that is my knowledge. The best the President can do is to decline to give assent.
“Parliament in its wisdom has passed these bills into law so if there is to be any amendment, it has to go back through the process, the President cannot just sit in his office and decide to strike out or to amend,” he told Joy FM.