The Vice Dean at the University of Ghana School of Graduate Studies, Prof Darko Osei calling for the country’s laws with regards to tax exemptions reviewed.
Ghana is said to be losing about $2.27 billion annually through exemptions alone.
Prof Darko Osei, Vice Dean at the University of Ghana School of Graduate Studies
Speaking at a Special Tax Seminar on the 2020 Budget organized by the Pentecost University College Graduate School, Prof. Osei who also doubles as an Associate Professor of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) stated that the tax exemption laws must be reviewed to benefit not some but all sectors in the country.
“In respect of that, of course, we need to relook at our exemption laws and those that are actually enjoying the tax exemptions. The resource sector is enjoying significant tax exemptions. So why is it not being extended to agro-industry or those firms that actually process raw foods? That for me is what we need to focus our effort at in terms of generating the needed revenue for our growth and transformation,” he said.
He also commended government for some measures captured in the 2020 budget which seek to enhance tax efficiency.
“The good thing with the 2020 budget is that the focus was on improving tax efficiency and I think that I particularly like that. We need to also improve the collections so that everybody is paying and the loopholes can be filled.”
In this regard, he further charged students and guests present to concern themselves with what the government uses taxes for and improve the efficiency of their spending.
Cynthia Kpelle, Tax administrator at Ghana Revenue Authority
Also speaking at the forum was a tax administrator at Ghana Revenue Authority Cynthia Kpelle who noted topical issues surrounding the various tax processes including the government's idea to tax the digital economy.
According to her, it would only be an effective move if there are the appropriate laws to direct how it is going to be done.
“The Minister also said we should tax the digital economy. A lot of people are doing businesses online and they don't pay taxes because we can't identify them. We don't even have the resources to identify them. And so I think it is a very laudable idea if only there will be the right laws for us to pursue such people,” she said.
The Special Tax Seminar on 2020 Budget forum was organized by the Pentecost University College (PUC) Graduate School under the theme, “Analysing the tax component of the 2020 national budget statement”.
The forum which took place on PUC campus at Sowutuom saw various leaders and taxation graduate students from PUC and other universities present.
The main aim of the forum was to encourage research in taxation and the practice of taxation generally, and facilitate the exchange of information and ideas related to taxation, especially from the 2020 budget.
The Chairman of the event, Nii Ayi Aryeetey who is the President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation Ghana (CITG), while addressing the participants indicated that the forum was the “perfect platform to actualize some of the issues going on in the legal world”.
Nii Ayi Aryeetey, President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation Ghana
He further encouraged students and guests present to put into practice what was discussed at the forum in order to benefit everyone as Ghanaians.
He said: “At the end of the day, I would encourage all of us here that whatever we hear today, at least let it be something that should influence how we do our work in one way or the other.”