As Finance Minister Seth Tekper prepares to present the budget statement to parliament on Friday majority of business operators Citi Business News has spoken to are hoping the budget will contain a lot of tax cuts and policies that will help them thrive.
[contextly_sidebar id=”4uGLhfAJHexwJZlm5K1JqDfnnVZFiaLR”]For close to three years now most businesses in the various sectors of the economy have been going through a number of challenges in a bid to stay afloat.
With high interest rates, never ending power crisis and a depreciating currency among others most companies have had to employ topmost tactics to survive.
The mining industry is one of many industries that has not been in luck for about 3 years now with a drop in the price of gold and other challenges it has had to lay off a lot of its workers.
According to the Ghana Chamber of Mines the 2016 budget must contain some tax rebates among others.
Nana Afua Oko who speaks for the Chamber of Mines told Citi Business News the move would help reduce their cost of operations which has been ballooned due to the imposition of taxes in the country.
“We are aware that in the budget and also in the new VAT Act, a specific VAT refund account has been set up, but the issue lingers for the mining industry as a whole this obviously has an effect on time value for money, cash flow implication and we are also affected by the general depreciation of the cedi, so we recommend that government should expedite the passage of the revenue administration bill.” She said.
Similar concerns are being shared by the Importers and Exporters Association who want government to refrain from introducing new taxes.
Executive Secretary of the Association, Sampson Asaaki Awingobit told Citi Business News they are already overburdened with the payment of Special Import Levies, SIL.
“We think that if government will not give a tax holiday from the special tax import levy, at least we wouldn’t want to see any additional taxes. We are appealing to government through the Ministry of Finance and the budget committee team that if they are looking for any additional source of revenue we wish to appeal that we do not want to hear any other additional taxes on the importing communities” Mr. Awingobit observed.
Meanwhile the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is calling for a suspension of the full price deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector.
President of AGI James Asare Adjei says businesses are overly being stretched and currently investing heavily in buying fuel to power their operations.
“We cannot leave fuel which has become an integral part of every sector of the economy in the hands of some few to determine pricing. There is the need as a country to take a look at this policy of deregulation so that industries that depend so much on fuel particularly diesel to operate generators to run their businesses also have that sort of respite.”
For their part, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has cautioned against any attempt by the government to increase taxes in the country as it concludes preparations for the 2016 budget statement.
The president, George Ofori, says although the association acknowledges the benefits of taxation to the economy, he believes increasing the taxes any time soon will come at a disadvantage to the operation of businesses.
“If the government thinks that by increasing taxes it is going to increase the amount of revenues and not thinking about the fallouts, that is, those who will run away from the tax net, then that will be disadvantaged. Because if it is affordable, it will be able to cast the tax net so high that it will be able to capture a lot of people.” Mr. Ofori stated.
But the Association of Road Contractors (ASROC) wants an increase in road and fuel levies.
According to the National Chairman of the Association of Road Contractors Joseph Ebo Hewton an increase in such funds will accrue revenue for government which will help pay road contractors on time.
“Ordinary Ghanaians realize the need to drive on good roads because I have read documents where people have to be carried on impoverished stretchers to be taken to the hospital, the farmer when he produces and has harvested them wants good roads to bring them to the market centre and so the economic value of good roads can never be underrated,” he stated.
By: Vivian Kai Lokko/citifmonline.com/Ghana