No new taxes will be introduced in 2020 budget — Finance Ministry

Government has announced it will not introduce new taxes in next year’s budget which is scheduled to be presented to parliament in November this year.

The ministry has begun taking stakeholders inputs into the 2020 budget to enable it to address some of the concerns citizens including Civil Society Groups have about the country’s expenditure and revenue generation mechanisms.

Speaking to Citi Business News during the first stakeholder’s engagement for the 2020 budget, Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng said the government’s current focus is to review tax exemptions

“In next year, we have no plans of introducing new taxes. We will continue to review some of the reliefs we gave. We are reviewing the Benchmark value because we are getting feedback from domestic manufacturers that in some specific areas, this policy is counter productive.

He said the government is seriously considering those concerns which will be addressed in the 2020 budget.

Meanwhile, some groups, including academia, traders, farmers, IMANI Africa, Oxfam, Penplusbytes, and exporters have submitted their proposals to the ministry with regards to what they want to be changed in next year’s budget.

“If we are not reaching our revenue target then let us look at the many of us who are not paying the taxes at all due to exemptions. And their numbers are actually equal to those who are paying the taxes,” President of GUTA, Joseph Obeng emphasized as he submitted his group’s proposals to the ministry.

Market women also want tax education intensified.

“Those from the revenue sector need to dialogue more with the market women to explain things to us. Because the understanding of paying taxes is not there,” said Mama Philo, the welfare officer for the Makola Market Traders Association.

She recounted how some GRA officials were chanced out of the Makola market when the officials went to the market to collect taxes.

According to her, the traders mistook the taxes for AMA levies and claimed they had already paid.

Penplusbytes’ Executive Director Juliet Amoah wants the Communication Service Tax reviewed downwards to 7% instead of the current 9%. According to her, the increment will counter efforts by the government to extend digitalisation to the vulnerable people in the society.

Oxfam wants the tax net widened while IMANI Africa is pushing for value addition to Ghana’s raw materials.

Agricultural mechanization is, however, top on the list of the Peasant Farmers Association. The group also want more warehouses built in 2020 to reduce post-harvest losses.

by Nana Oye Walton Ankrah

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