There is a desperate plea for the government not to pass its three new revenue measures.
These are; the Growth and Sustainability bill, Excise Duty Amendment bill and the Income Tax Amendment bill.
Players in the petroleum upstream sector, importers and exporters are all warning of dire consequences if the bills are passed.
President Akufo-Addo, this month told Parliament that the three bills need to be passed to enable government to secure an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.
The CEO of Ghana Upstream Petroleum Chamber, David Ampofo says this will collapse businesses contrary to existing petroleum agreements.
“We completely understand government’s need for revenue at this critical period for the country. However, this tax will lead to the collapse of indigenous Ghanaian companies and will be a disincentive for international oil companies who are looking to do business in Ghana,” he said.
He advised government to seek other means to raise revenue, such as “expediting the award of blocks and rejuvenating the sector.”
Also, the Executive Secretary of Importers and Exporters Association, Samson Awingobit wants the taxes to be suspended.
“… I think all the three taxes should be put on hold now,” he stated.
Additionally, Tax Consultant, Eric Amponsah Boateng says businesses will struggle if these measures become law.
“I don’t think that there would be a need to bring in these new ones … We ask ourselves, it is time for these taxes to be in operation?”
But Deputy Energy Minister, Andrew Egyapa Mercer says he expects the Minority in Parliament to support passage of the bills.
“I expect that we put the national interest first, we will look at the issues, have a dispassionate bipartisan conversation,” he said.
About the 3 bills
Growth and Sustainability bill
The Levy is to be imposed on profit before tax of companies and institutions and on production in the case of mining, upstream oil and gas companies.
The estimated revenue for 2023 is approximately GH¢2.26 billion.
The Levy is subject to review by the Minister responsible for Finance in 2025.
Excise Amendment Bill
This seeks to amend the Excise Duty Act, 2014 (Act 878) to revise the excise tax rates for cigarettes and other tobacco products to conform with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocols and raise revenue to mitigate the harmful effects of these products.
It is also intended to increase the excise duty in respect of wine, malt drinks and spirits; and impose excise duty on sweetened beverages and electronic cigarettes and electronic liquids to increase revenue.
Income tax amendment bill
This is to amend the Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896) to revise the rates of income tax for individuals and introduce an additional income tax bracket, introduce a withholding tax rate on the realisation of assets and liabilities and on winnings from lottery, unify the loss carried forward provisions and revise the treatment of foreign exchange losses.
It is also intended to increase the optional rate for individuals on the gain from the realisation of an investment asset, revise the upper limits for the quantification of motor vehicle benefits and increase the concessional income tax rates.
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