Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has announced government’s decision to abolish eight taxes and reduce four others, many of which were introduced by the previous government.
According to him, many of the taxes were nuisance taxes, the removal of which will ease the difficulties they imposed on Ghanaians.
He explained the measures will help drive the job creation agenda of government, lessen hardship of Ghanaians and secure a business-friendly environment in the country.
Reading the first budget of the new government in Parliament Thursday, the Minister said despite the doubts of political opponents, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is committed to following through with its 2016 campaign promises.
Then NPP Presidential Candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made several promises in the lead up to the 2016 general elections – promises his opponents described as lousy, ambitious and unachievable.
He promised to bolster secondary education by making it free, reducing taxes that hamper the growth of businesses, build one factory in every district, allocate $1 million to all the constituencies to combat poverty, and to construct dam in every village in the Northern Region.
Two months after he was sworn in, President Akufo-Addo has given credence to many of his promises by capturing them in his government’s budget.
The taxes the Minister listed to be abolished and reduced include;
(a) Abolish one percent special import levy,
(b) Abolish 17.5 VAT on financial sevices
(c) Abolish 17.5% VAT on selected imported medicines
(d) Initiate steps to remove import duties on raw materials and machinery
(e) Abolish 17.5 VAT on domestic airline tickets
(f) Abolish 5% VAT on real estates
(g) Abolish excise duty on petroleum
(h) Reduce special petroluem tax rate from 17.5% to 15%
(i) Abolish duties on importation of spare parts.
(j) Abolish levies imposed on Kayayei’s by local authorities
(k) Replace the 17.5 VAT on Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) traders to a flat rate of 3.5 percent
(l) Reduce National Electrification levy
Many of these taxes were set by former President John Mahama’s government to fill the revenue shortfall in the country.
“Some of these taxes have proven nuisance,” Mr Ofori-Atta said, adding the measures to eliminate and reduce some of them is in line with government’s commitment to ensure that the economy regains its strength.