The Trade and Industry Minister, Kobina Tahir Hammond is fighting back accusations that the government is bringing to Parliament too many tax waivers running into GH₵12 billion.
According to him, government is doing nothing wrong by bringing to Parliament tax waiver requests for approval.
This follows Ranking Member on the Trade and Industry Committee, Yussif Sulemana’s claim that the Minority has identified a GH₵7 billion tax exemption the government intends to introduce under the guise of One District One Factory (1D1F), while in actuality it is seeking to benefit government cronies.
Whilst refusing to confirm the numbers put out by the Ranking Member, K.T Hammond justified giving out exemptions to companies under One District One Factory.
He also insisted there is nothing wrong with giving out tax waivers and seeking to raise new taxes at the same time.
He argued that the tax waivers are expected to bolster government’s One District One Factory programme.
“Embedded in the IDIF initiative is the fact that those companies which have managed to raise monies from whatever capital that they have, they have decided that they have the confidence in the Ghanaian economy and decided to invest in the economy, are to be incentivised and one of the ways we incentivise them is to grant them tax exemptions. It is done everywhere,” he explained.
Minority in Parliament claimed the Finance Ministry is seeking more than GH₵ 7 billion in fresh tax exemption requests despite another GH₵5.5 billion in exemption requests pending.
This GH₵12 billion in tax exemption requests are all before the Finance Committee of Parliament with the Minority blocking the approval of the initial GH₵5.5 billion.
Speaking to journalists in Parliament, Ranking Member of the Trade and Industry Committee, Yusif Sulemana, lamented these tax waivers.
The Bole Bamboi MP argued that it is unconscionable that government will be seeking to raise a little over GH₵11 billion in new taxes as part of the 2024 budget while giving out GH₵12 billion for free at the same time in tax exemptions.
“The unfortunate thing is that whilst we are taxing the poor Ghanaian to raise this revenue, we are also at the same time granting tax waivers to friends and if you like, family members. For instance, we have about GH₵5.5 billion tax exemptions waiting at the Finance Committee for exemptions.
“We have also been reliably informed, and we are speaking because we have seen documents that suggest that they are bringing another GH₵7 billion tax waiver request to Parliament. Now, if you put the two together, you are talking about GH₵12.5 billion, in tax exemptions. Here you are, wanting to grant GH₵12.5 billion to your friends and your family members in the name of tax exemptions under the name of 1D1F at the same name imposing taxes to the tune of GH₵11 billion,” he said.
According to Mr Sulemana, the Minority will not allow these exemptions to go through without a fight since the introduction of taxes on businesses has led to the collapse of several businesses in the country.
“We will not sit down and allow them to impose taxes on our people,” he insisted.