Industry is warning of massive job losses and the collapse of companies if government fails to immediately hold a crucial dialogue on how to keep businesses afloat.
This warning comes in the wake of Parliament’s approval of three new taxes that will see income tax shoot up as well as prices of commodities including fruit juices and spirits increasing as well.
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and Chamber of Commerce and other business groups believe government must pay attention to what will ensure the survival of businesses.
The groups have been holding a news conference on Tuesday under the umbrella coalition Ghana Joint Business Consultative Forum.
Addressing the press, GUTA President Joseph Obeng called on government to “create an enabling environment that would ensure the growth and sustainability of the private sector rather than overtaxing businesses out of their effectiveness.”
According to him, government should not sacrifice the survival and development of the private sector for the sake of the International Monetary Fund programme.
This, he explained is because the purpose of the IMF to support the economy will amount to nothing if it collapses local businesses.
He suggested that government enhances its revenue mobilisation by adopting innovative and practicable measures.
“We of the business community …. the taxes we pay are sufficiently enough but what the government fails to do is to avert an effective and pragmatic system to ensure compliance with tax payment,” he said.
Also, the Ghana Federation of Labour fears mass lay-off of workers, resulting a rise in unemployment and crime in the country.
According to its President Abraham Koomsom, currently, there are about 17 taxes that business owners are already paying therefore question why government wants to add up to the existing taxes.
He said if the industry collapses, there won’t be any trade unions hence the presser.
“We have to make sure we partner them [business owners] to impress upon government to stop what they are doing and we will continue to push to make sure that the right things are done,” he said.
On his part, the Food and Beverages Association fears of double taxation due to the passing of the new revenue measures.
They want government to withdraw the tax stamp policy if it wants to implement the new measures.
“… the stamp that you are offering that you said you are going to peg it at 20%, what it means is that you need to take off the excise duty and sell the stamps or you keep the duty and the stamps for free because when you that it would mean double taxation and therefore industry is not ready to go that line with government.” said a representative of the Association.
They asked government to consider the rippling effects of the new taxes on businesses.
The representative of the Food and Beverages Association also called on the government to engage the industry on the new revenue measures.
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