Government commended for decision on income tax threshold

Mr. Ankrah addressing the gathering

Mr. Ankrah addressing the gathering

The government has been commended for heeding the call of the Ghana Mine Workers Union to reconsider its decision on the income tax threshold which was scaled up at this year’s mid-year budget review.

This change in policy direction the Union said was a huge respite to many workers whose income and expenditure patterns got disrupted to put their financial plan back on track.

Mr. Prince William Ankrah, General Secretary of the Union speaking at the opening session of the Union’s national executive council meeting in Accra yesterday said given the critical role tax revenue plays in the economy, the Union wish to urge government to expand the tax net by devising other strategies to rope-in more taxpayers into the tax net.

“In this regard, the Union want to commend the government for the rigorous enforcement of the Tax Identification Number (TIN), National ID Card and the implementation of the tax stamp all of which are geared toward expanding the tax net,” he said.

He said “another important issue is the announcement by the government to lift the ban on small scale mining”.

The Union Mr. Ankrah said had always recognised the importance of small-scale mining in both the national and local economies particularly in mining communities by way of livelihoods sustenance, employment creation among others.

“However, we have not also forgotten the colossal damage the unbridled and unregulated small-scale and illegal mining inflicted on and continue to inflict on the environment. More worrying is the fact that despite the ban, illegal mining was flourishing in some remote forest areas of the country and the recent arrest of more than 20 Chinese illegal miners and their Ghanaian accomplices make the issue very complex,” he said.

He commended the government for the ban and the sustained fight against illegal mining and also for the new benchmarks it had established as a prerequisite for engaging in small scale-mining going forward.

“It is our firm belief that, the new benchmarks, if implemented to the letter, will go a long way in streamlining the activities of the small-scale subsector of the industry for the mutual benefit of the stakeholders. Let me hasten to add that, the fight against illegal mining must not only be sustained but criminalise and perpetrators well punished,” he said.

Mr. Ankrah said despite some positive developments, in the mining industry, there were teething challenges ahead which, needed to be addressed.

“The first challenge is the growing precarious work arrangements fast gaining grounds in the industry and the trade unions’ lacklustre attitude and liturgic approach towards taken a decisive or definite position/action against the phenomenon although it is abundantly clear that, the governing/regulatory structures of our country have failed to use policy/regulations to streamline and deal with the issue leaving a vacuum for employers/capitalists to exploit to the detriment of workers,” he said.

 

Equally worrying he said was the ballooning cost of operation of some of the companies due to the deteriorating infrastructure in most of the mining communities.

“At the centre of this concern are mostly the haulage companies (Ghana Bauxite and Manganese Companies) that have had their operations challenged due to the difficulty in hauling production through long and winding bumpy roads due to the absence of rail network,” he said.

This infrastructure deficit Mr. Ankrah said was not akin to only the companies in the mines but widespread across the local economies of the mining enclaves spreading its concomitant effects on not only mining companies but other sectors as well.

By Claud Nyarko

 

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