President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated his commitment to reducing taxes to revive Ghana’s economy. Speaking at his investiture at the Independence Square in Accra on Saturday, the new President said his government will count on a vibrant private sector to drive growth and create jobs. “We believe that the business of government is to govern. Ours is to set fair rules. We will provide vision and direction and shine the light down the path of our entrepreneurs and farmers, he said. The previous NDC administration in 2014 introduced a lot of taxes on products and services, including a 17.5 percent VAT on fee-based financial services. President Akufo-Addo, during the 2016 campaign, pledged to introduce new tax reforms to lessen the burden of consumers and businesses. He said the introduction of the taxes by the NDC worsened the plight of businesses operating in the country. “We will provide tax incentives for increasing productivity. My intention is to reduce the corporate tax rate, abolish VAT on financial services, and remove duties on the importation of raw materials and manufacturing equipment, among other fiscal incentives to stimulate growth of the private sector,” the then opposition leader said. “We will reduce taxes to recover the momentum of our economy. The doors of Ghana are open again. There could not be a better opportunity to make it in Ghana. Ghana is open for business again.” Ken Ofori Atta, Finance Minister-designate, also told journalists at the Flagstaff House yesterday in Accra that Ghanaian businesses had been burdened with a lot of taxes and would work to reduce them. Nuisance Taxes Yaw Osafo Maafo, Senior Minister-designate, has also given indication that the new government is bent on delivering its promise to reduce the taxes. Speaking in an interview with the media yesterday after his nomination by the president, he said, “We are going to remove some taxes. Some taxes are what we call nuisance taxes. You put 17.5 percent VAT on financial services…how much do you realized from it, very little. But the efforts of putting up that much tax is not worth how much you get it”. He said, “If the tax itself will impede development, then there is no need keeping it there. You want to free the system to develop…you don’t free systems with taxes; and you don’t make money always with taxes. “Sometimes you take away taxes to make more money. Never make it look like you must always impose taxes. No I don’t agree with that.”
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