Accra, March 18, GNA - Parliament on Friday passed the National Reconstruction Levy (amendment) bill.
The bill seeks to reduce the various rates of levies applicable to financial institutions, insurance companies and other companies from the levels of 2-and-a-half per cent to 10 per cent to 1.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent.
In an accompanying memorandum signed by Mr Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, the amendment was in line with the 2005 budget proposals.
It said, "Following the concerns expressed by the business community and representations made by the Association of Ghana Industries, the Chamber of Commerce and the Financial Community, Government is reducing the various rates applicable."
The Minority had carried their dissatisfaction against the bill from the Committee level to the Chamber.
"We want a zero National Reconstruction levy," Mr Moses Asaga, Minority Spokesman on Finance, said.
Mr Alban Bagbin said he doubted government's intention to scrap the levy by the year 2007.
He said the levy was collapsing industry and demanded its capitation. Mr Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, in response, asked for facts to support the assertion that the levy was collapsing industry.
He said facts available to the public indicated that business was booming and that no one had posted losses because of the levy. Government had declared her intention to further reduce the levy in 2006 and eventually scrap it in 2007.
Earlier, the House passed the Custom and Excise (Duties and other taxes) (Amendment) Bill The bill among others seeks to review downward import duty rates from 25 per cent to 20 per cent for imported rice and from 40 per cent to 20 per cent for poultry products.
A Committee of Finance report on the bill quoted officials of the Custom, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) as saying "the 40 per cent import duty rate on poultry products violated the harmonisation commodity codes." 18 March 05