Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Kwaku Kwarteng says the government appreciates the weaknesses in the tax exemption regime and will introduce new measures in the Exemptions Bill to deal with the shortcomings.
However, he said, the Exemptions Bill currently before Parliament when passed would not cancel exemptions already granted.
“The tax reform will not operate in a way that will undermine the covenant that the government has already made with investors and we will protect you in that regard,” he said to chief executives at a breakfast meeting organised by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.
He said government was sensitive to the needs of the business community and would not do anything untoward to breach the trust, adding that all signed agreements would be allowed to run their full course.
Mr Kwarteng said the government was considering deepening its relationship with the private sector in key priority sectors of the economy to boost business activities.
He said while the government was willing to give tax exemptions, businesses must also be prepared and be ready to offer something in return for such support.
“While the government will be willing to forgo taxes for a period outside what is generally granted in law, business promoters must also be willing to tell the state what they are willing to give up in return,” Mr Kwarteng said.
He encouraged private businesses, especially those in manufacturing, to enroll onto the government’s One-district, One-factory (1D1F) to enjoy generous concessions that Parliament had made available to the Ministry of Finance.
“Even though we are granting general permission, Parliament requires us to bring each request to show the economics of the projects or investments that will come to them for exemption.”
The meeting, dubbed: ‘Ghana on the go’, allowed the captains of industry to assess the benefits and disadvantages of the Exemption Bill 2019, as well as make inputs into the bill.
The Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) organised the meeting as part of measures to sensitise businesses to the government’s tax reform agenda.
Mr Abeiku Gyan-Quansah, a tax partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), who spoke on the impact of tax exemptions on the financial strength of companies, said it could lead to improved profitability, cash flows and investments.
It could also lead to job creation and sustainable government revenues.
On the other hand, it could lead to high compliance cost, unclear compliance procedures and impact on competition.
Mr Gyan-Quansah suggested the publication of exemptions impact reports to enhance effective monitoring and to help reduce compliance cost.