Ahead of the 2024 budget presentation, experts and business leaders called on government to abolish what they describe as nuisance taxes to alleviate the economic burden on businesses.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the UPSA Faculty of Accounting and Finance’s Pre-Budget Dialogue Series, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mark Badu-Aboagye, expressed concerns over Ghana’s “unfair tax regime.”
He stressed that some of these taxes were harming businesses and stifling private sector growth.
Mr Badu-Aboagye opined that some tax and levies on goods and services were outrageous, recommending that the government cut down on its expenditures to reduce the budget deficit and raise more revenue.
“Increasing revenue is not about increasing taxes or introducing new ones,” Mr Badu-Aboagye said. “It is about how effective you are at collecting those taxes. So I think that we have enough taxes as of now.”
“We are expecting that nuisance taxes like the COVID-19 tax will be scrapped. Ghana is the only country that imposed a COVID-19 tax on businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Covid is way gone, but we still have the COVID tax, and this is harming businesses,” he said.
Mr Badu-Aboagye further appealed to the government to review the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-levy) by reducing it from its current 1 percent to 0.5 percent in order to rake in more revenue for the state.
For his part, the Technical Economic Advisor to the Vice President, Dr Samuel Kwadwo Frimpong, stressed the importance of expanding the country’s tax net and bringing on board those in the informal sector.
He noted that the call for the government to drastically cut down on its expenditures was realistically and practically impossible due to the huge demands and expectations from the citizenry.
Dr Frimpong was, however, confident that the IMF program being undertaken by the government will ensure that Ghana does not exceed her 2024 budget expenditure, a situation that often arises in every electioneering year.
Head of the Department of Business Economics and Actuarial Science at UPSA, Dr Abdullah Abdul-Mumuni, said the government must introduce policies to address the current economic challenges while cutting down on low-priority projects to save the country huge sums of revenue.
Dr Mumuni also bemoaned the practice of excessive borrowing by government. This, he said, could derail the country’s efforts towards fiscal and debt sustainability.
Other experts who spoke at the event included Dr Joseph Obeng, Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA); Dr Kofi Osei Adu, EXIM Bank Ghana; Mr John Awuni, Cjairman of the Food and Beverage Association of Ghana; and Mr Samson Asaki Awingobit, Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association.
Dean of the Faculty of Accounting and Finance, Professor Isaac Boadi, thanked the experts for their insightful contributions.
He said the Pre-Budget Dialogue series is a public awareness event aimed at fostering informed discussions on economic expectations and fiscal priorities for the upcoming fiscal year while offering a dynamic platform for multi-sectoral engagement to generate informed policy recommendations.