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14.07.2004 Business & Finance

Aliu urges NGOs to pay income taxes of employees

By GNA

Accra, July 14, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama on Wednesday asked Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to live up to the payment of income taxes of their employees.

He said it could be justified to exempt drugs, relief items, educational materials and other goods used for the benefit of deprived communities. However, it was inexcusable for above middle-income earners and their local employees, some of whom were paid in foreign currencies, to escape tax on their earnings, he said.

The Vice President said this in a speech read by Mr Yaw Barimah, Minister of Manpower Development and Employment, on his behalf at the launch of activities to mark the 25th anniversary celebrations of World Vision Ghana.

Vice President Aliu said misapplication of donor financial and other resources and importing fleets of cars and luxury goods meant for personal use in the name of the organisation to avoid payment of duties and taxes had made people to question the genuineness of motives of NGOs operating in the country.

"There are indications that some NGOs are able to persuade donors to part with substantial financial and other resources, which are either misapplied or never find their way into the country."

To address these concerns the government has instituted a committee to fashion out a policy framework within which to process request for tax and duty exemptions by NGOs.

Vice President Aliu said government would continue to foster cooperation between it and the NGO community in order to achieve peace, accelerated growth and development, social integration and the general well being of Ghanaians.

It is in this direction, he said, that Government was developing a new institutional framework to guide the operations of NGOs in the country, adding that the NGO draft policy would soon be submitted to Cabinet.

The Policy, when approved would lead to the establishment of an umbrella body to oversee and guide NGO operations.

Another area to improve cooperation is a programme designed to get all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Regional Coordinating Councils and District Assemblies to appoint NGO desk officers to further enhance the collaboration.

The desk officers would be required to review the list of registered NGOs for submission to relevant Governmental institutions as well as conduct studies on the socio-economic development impact of the contribution to the country.

Vice President Aliu lauded the contribution of World Vision Ghana in affecting the lives people in the rural communities through expansion of access to basic social facilities.

However, he said, more investment must be channelled to vocational training to equip the youth with employable skills, support farmers and fishermen with inputs and technologies as well as facilitate maintenance culture among the people of communities within which they have projects.

Mr Sam Asare, World Vision Ghana National Director, appealed to district assemblies, chiefs, churches and communities to work closely with them in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects to ensure their sustainability.

He said World Vision Ghana, would continue to provide improved quality education, health, food, water and sanitation as well as promote micro-enterprise among parents.

The anniversary is on the theme: "World Vision Ghana, 25 Years of Dedicated Service in Rural Development."

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