Government advised against granting generous tax incentives

Prosper K. Kuorsoh, GNA

Navrongo, (U/E), Aug.
6, GNA – The Government has been advised to desist from granting overly
generous tax incentives and concessions to multinational companies operating in
the country, as the practice is injurious to the economy.

A research by Tax
Justice Network Africa indicates that government loses 2.3 million dollars
annually in tax concessions and 1.2 billion dollars annually in tax incentives.

Mr Sumaila
Abdul-Rahman, Country Director, ActionAid Ghana gave the advice during a panel
discussion on the topic: “Extractives and Domestic Resource Mobilisation.”

The panel discussion
was on the occasion of the University for Development Studies/Community Water
and Sanitation Agency (UDS/CWSA) First Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH)
Conference held at the Navrongo campus of the UDS in the Upper East Region.

The three-day
conference organised on the theme: “WASH: The Successes, Challenges and the Way
Forward with Academia,” brought together players from the academia, civil
society, governmental agencies, the private sector and the media among others
to share ideas on how to improve the WASH sector.

The conference was
mainly sponsored by WaterAid Ghana, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation,
Catholic Relieve Services and World Vision International.

Mr Abdul-Rahman stated
that the extractive industries was one of government’s main sources of revenue
but expressed worry that government’s over generous way of granting tax
incentives to multilateral companies was robbing the country of the needed
revenue for delivering key public services such as WASH.

On the huge deposits
of bauxite around the Atiwa Forest and the Government’s 15 billion dollars
partnership deal with China, the Country Director of ActionAid Ghana cautioned
the Executive to watch out on the tax concessions and incentives in order to
rake in the required tax revenue.

“Government needs to
be guided by the Meridian Ports experience where the project value was 1.5
billion and the tax incentive was 982 million dollars which was further
negotiated by Parliament to 932 million dollars saving the country 50 million
dollars as in tax,” he said.

Mr Abdul-Rahman called
on the government to publicly review all tax incentives including assessing tax
expenditure, ensuring that incentives were well targeted and commensurate with
the benefits expected to citizens.

“Government should
also ensure that all phases of new incentives require Parliamentary approval,
and that any new incentive offered is grounded in legislation, which makes it
available to all qualifying investors, foreign or domestic,” he added.

Mr Andrew A. Tagoe,
Deputy General Secretary of the General Agriculture Workers Union of the Trades
Union Congress, wanted government to grant tax incentives only to local
companies instead of multinational companies.

Dr Yao Graham, Third
World Network Ghana, called on the government to pick its acts together on
domestic resource mobilisation and reduce over dependence on foreign aid.


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