Minority urges govt to come clean on Double Taxation Agreements

Mr Ato Forson

Mr Ato Forson

The Minority in Parliament is urging the government to come clean on Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) it is seeking to reach with four countries.

 

The government, through the Finance Ministry, yesterday laid the four papers in Parliament for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital gains.

 

The beneficiary countries are Czech Republic, Morocco, Mauritius and Singapore.

 

The papers were laid on behalf of the Finance Minister by the Monitoring and Evaluation Minister, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei.

 

These agreements, if approved by Parliament, means Ghanaian firms operating in those countries will also enjoy same level of tax exemptions.

 

But a skeptical Minority said the deal may not be in the interest of the country but only a few targeted firms.

 

Minority spokesperson on Finance, Casiel Ato Baah Forson, speaking with journalists after proceeding yesterday said: “I don’t think Ghana as a country is going to benefit.”

 

“Our (Minority) reason is premised on the fact that there are little or no Ghanaian businesses in the beneficiary countries,” he said, adding that the beneficiary countries, like Singapore and Mauritius, have tax havens, investment in those countries purposed to cream off the taxes and be exempted from paying same.

 

“So we want the government to come clean on this matter. What is the motivation for rushing to Parliament for the approval of four different DTAs.

 

“We want them to estimate the fiscal cost to the state, we want them to give us evidence that Ghanaian businesses are also going to benefit from those countries and that it is not going to be done in a way that only some few individuals are going to benefit,” Mr Forson, a former Deputy Finance Minister said.

 

To request for four DTAs in a day, the Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam lawmaker said, “is a bit too much” and the Minority in the coming days will “scrutinise this double taxation deal in a way that the ordinary Ghanaian benefits from it.”

 

He said if the Minority came to the realisation that the deal was in the interest of the country, it will support it, but “if we are not convinced that these are in the interest of the state, we will oppose it with all the vim in us.”

 

According to Mr Forson, since Ghana became a republic it has signed less than 10 DTAs and that to request for four in a day “raises eyebrows.”

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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