Scores of traders and head porters, commonly referred to as ‘Kayayei’, in Accra yesterday expressed gratitude to the Nana Akufo-Addo-led government for fulfilling his promise of removing taxes, which they said, were stifling the growth of their business.
While some demonstrated their feelings with loud chants of “Nana aba, Nana aba”, translated “Nana is here”, others moved from shop to shop to discuss the development with their colleagues.
The scenes at the Abossey Okai spare parts market was a joy to watch as traders collectively greeted the development with songs of praise and worship.
Speaking to The Ghanaian Times in an interview, Madam Segua Sam, a trader at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange was critical of the previous government’s tax policy, which she described as “unfriendly to small businesses.”
“My business suffered as a result of the huge taxes introduced by the then government. It was as if I was working for the government, because the little profit made was taken by some taxes I could not comprehend. We were not considered at all in the drafting of the tax policy. Thankfully, unlike others, I was able to remain in business despite the challenges, “she said.
Rose Tenyo, a trader at the Kaneshie market, said the removal of the taxes was a huge relief to traders as well as customers as it would effectively lead to the reduction of price of goods and services.
She said for some time now, saving part of her income had been a challenge as she struggled to record a meaningful profit from the business.
“It was difficult for me to reinvest in my business because; my suppliers always increased the prices of goods to pay for the high import taxes. I had little or nothing from selling those goods as the customers were always complaining.”
School fees and other high utility bills, she said nearly collapsed her business, saying that “I am confident the abolition of those taxes will help me and other traders to build and grow our businesses”.
Emma Ansah, an attendant at a Pharmacy in Kaneshie said she was excited about the removal of tax on imported drugs, which pushed the prices of drugs to unexpected levels and rendering patients helpless in purchasing drugs.
George Asare and Ben Tandoh, spare parts dealers at Abossey Okai expressed shock at the total abolition of the spare parts imports levy saying that “we expected a reduction but what we heard today is incredible. It is a welcome incentive.”
Mr. Tandoh said the news was refreshing to him and other dealers who were redundant due to their inability to pay high taxes on imports, adding that the old levy should not have been introduced in the first instance.
“That levy got me out of business. You can see my shop for yourself, looking virtually empty,” he said.
On his part, Mr. Asare said the abolition was “motivating enough for me and other dealers, so we will work hard to make the government proud of introducing well-aligned measures to support small businesses”.
The abolition of the ‘Kayayei’ levy paid to local authorities, according to Memuna Kubate, a head porter at the Kaneshie market, was a step in the right direction as those in involved needed government support, rather pay taxes on the little they earn.
The levies paid, she said could have been sent to their families in deprived communities to assist in the provision of their day to day needs.
“I have had to pay all these levies without knowing its benefit to me. If we had saved that amount each day, we could have earned enough to start a small business,” Ms. Kubate said.
She was confident the government would introduce policies that would create decent jobs for her and other head porters, who migrated to Accra to work to improve their lives.
Some drivers, however, were disappointed with the minimal reduction of the Petroleum Special Levy from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent, saying that fuel prices will still not be affordable to the majority of Ghanaians.
By Claude Adams