Politics

Tax waiver: Minority describes US$450 million application by 45 companies as Organised Crime

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The Minority in Parliament is accusing the government of indulging in corruption with party cronies through tax exemptions under the guise of the One District One Factory initiative.

The Minority says “corruption-induced money that government officials got by inflating contracts and receiving kick-backs is also diminishing” due to the State’s inability to borrow to carry out contracts, the reason they have resorted to the taxes to enrich themselves.

In a statement signed by the Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, Monday, November 27, 2023, it says government has presented to Parliament, about 45 companies seeking tax exemptions to the tune of almost US$450million, which the caucus has described as an act of organised crime.

“Currently, there are about 45 companies that have been presented to Parliament as one-
district-one-factory companies, GIPC strategic investors, etc, to be exempted from the
payment of taxes. In total, Government is asking Parliament to grant tax exemptions to the
tune of USD449,446,247.95 for these 45 companies. That is the equivalent of over five and
a half (5.5) billion Ghana cedis!

“We are further told that there are a total of 118 companies being processed at the Ministry of Trade & Industry, Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre to be brought to Parliament for tax exemptions. The total value of exemptions for these 118
companies is about seven billion Ghana cedis!” the statement detailed.

It further indicated as “the considered view of the Minority that these requests for tax exemptions running into several billions of Cedis, are unconscionable, inordinate and bear all the trappings of organised crime.”

The Minority substantiated its corruption allegations by stating an incident in Parliament in somewhere mid 2023, where a deputy Finance Minister was accused by government of frustrating certain tax waivers in the country.

“Ghanaians would recall the strange events on the floor of Parliament sometime this year, specifically on 28th July, 2023. On that occasion, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T
Hammond, backed by the Chairman of the Trade Committee of Parliament, Carlos Ahenkorah, ganged up against one of their own and Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Kweku Kwarteng, accusing him of frustrating certain tax waivers.

Their concern was that Parliament was conducting the necessary due diligence into these requests to ensure that the Ghanaian people are not shortchanged.

Why the indecent haste, if we may
ask?”

The Minority has promised to resist the applications for tax waivers in their current forms “with all the tools and strategies at our disposal.”

However, the Minority says it would only support “any company that seeks tax waiver or exemption shall cede commensurate equity stake in their investment projects or business to the State in accordance with section 14(3) and section 15 of the Exemptions Act, 2022 (Act 1083)

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