The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, James Klutse Avedzi, has urged the government to submit to Parliament a policy on tax waivers in order to safeguard the country’s meager resources.
The demand follows concerns raised in the house about the amount of monies lost to the state through tax waivers.
Parliament last week granted a tax waiver of GH₵180million for some infrastructural projects in the educational sector, a development that Mr. Avedzi says is a big loss.
“The tax waivers are a source of revenue, so when the government is allowing taxes to be waived, the government is losing revenue. A policy will show the direction of what should be waived or not. For three and half years we have not seen that policy,” he told Business24 in an interview at Parliament House.
On tax reliefs for companies under One District One Factory, he explained that a study has to be done to determine the benefits of forgoing those revenues. This, he said, will inform the state as to whether to go ahead or review the tax waivers for these companies.
According to him, as long as the country continues to borrow from the markets to undertake projects which comes with conditions, it will be difficult to stay away from loans, “, unless as a country we are prepared to say that if that is the condition we will not take the loan”.
Tax incentives are recognised as government expenditure and therefore a take on government revenue.
The tax incentive regime is governed by the following legal framework; The 1992 Ghana Constitution -Article 174 gives parliament power to impose all taxation in Ghana, power to grant tax incentives and waivers, any agreement with a taxation provision must have parliamentary approval to have legal effect.
Other legal sources for tax incentives in Ghana are: Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (management) law, Customs and Excise (Duties and other) taxes Act, Internal Revenue Act, Value Added Tax Act, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, Free Zones Act.
There is also the Minerals and Mining Act, Regional and International Treaties, Ecowas trade liberalization scheme, Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) (with the European Union), Double Taxation Agreements, other international agreements and protocols.
Ghana also offers competitive investment incentives to investors ranging from income tax, financial and custom incentives.