The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has stressed the need for government to seal leakages in the tax administration system as well as enforce compliance in mobilizing optimal revenue to fund critical projects and programmes.
This, the Union believes, is imperative in creating a vibrant tax system to spur an effective and timeous economic rebound.
Addressing the press during the Ghana Joint Business Consultative Forum in Accra yesterday, President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, added that such crucial decisions are important, particularly, given the fact that the private sector is the engine of growth of every economy.
In pursuing that agenda, he indicated, it is time for government to adapt an effective and pragmatic system to ensure effective tax compliance, while roping in the teeming numbers of persons and businesses still outside the tax bracket.
“Government should create enabling environment that will ensure growth and thrive of the private sector rather than overtaking businesses out of their effectiveness. The government should not sacrifice the growth and development of the private sector for the sake of the IMF programme,” he stated.
Dr Obeng noted that there are too many leakages in the tax system, which lead to abuses, hence the need to plug all holes to forestall tax evasion and other related abuses.
For instance, he said, the abuses of the warehousing and free zone policies should be thoroughly examined and strictly checked.
In his view, the efforts of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support Ghana’s economy will amount to nothing, if it ends up destroying local businesses.
According to him, the government can also enhance domestic revenue mobilisation by adapting innovative and practicable measures.
“We of the business community are very much in the known that the taxes we pay to the government are sufficient…, but what the government fails to do is to adapt effective and pragmatic system to ensure compliance with tax payment, as well as rope in all other business entities that have not been captured into the tax net,” he reiterated.
Dr. Obeng expressed disappointment at the passage of the three revenue bills, Excise Duty, Growth and Sustainability Levy and Income Amendment Bills by Parliament.
The GUTA President said the passage of these bills, coming on the heels of an already harsh business climate, poses very dire consequences for industry.
“The tax exemption policy should be totally abolished. This will go a long way to save significant revenue for national development. The government should do everything within its means to prune down its expenditure, and should also note that no amount of revenue generated will ever suffice the government if government expenditure remains unnecessarily high without prudent management and strict control,” he stated.