Some of the aggrieved traders
Traders have complained about excessive taxes in the country, saying they will collapse businesses.
According to them, the recent taxes were not only abnormal but intolerable.
George Ofori, President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) disclosed this at a press conference in Accra yesterday.
The traders have therefore given government a two-week ultimatum to review the high taxes because “we cannot bear it any longer.”
George Ofori (2nd) at the press conference
He enumerated some of the numerous taxes and levies that are charged at the ports.
These include import duty of between 10 and 20 percent, import VAT/NHIL – 17.5 percent, ECOWAS Levy – 0.5 percent, EDIFF – 0.5 percent, GCNet – 0.4 percent, GCNet VAT/NHIL 17.5 percent, Ghana Shippers’ Authority – GHS9, Income Tax in Imports – 1 percent, I.D.F (GHS5), Special Tax on Import – 2 percent, CUBAG – (GHS5) and CCVR – 1 percent.
“This is aside other charges imposed by state agencies like the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ghana Standards Authority and Food and Drug Authority (FDA) among others, as well as other private operators at the ports like the shippers Lines, whose charges are illegitimate,” he said.
Mr Ofori said the government did not consider the views and plight of stakeholders before imposing the taxes.
“This means that if a trader imports goods worth $10,000, he or she has to find $5,000 for payment as taxes and levies before he or she can clear the goods from the port.
That, he said, was simply impracticable and unacceptable and could be said to among the worst form of import tax systems in the world.
Mr. Ofori bemoaned the recent increase of withholding tax to 15 percent even though it was later slashed to 7.5 percent.
“How practicable on this earth should a government atrociously hold such a gargantuan amount of the people’s trading capital.”
“What it implies is that if a supplier puts a margin of 20 percent mark up on total cost of GH¢100,000, which is equal to GH¢120,000 inclusive of profit and other overheads, the government is going to take a colossal amount of GH¢18,000, leaving the supplier with only GH¢2,000.
“This is even without regard for other overhead cost which means that the trader will run the business at a total loss,” he said.
The GUTA president expressed the hope that government will address their grievances urgently.
By Cephas Larbi