The Ministry of Finance is assessing the impact of the various tax reduction promises made by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the run-up to the December 7 general election, a tax policy advisor at the ministry, Dr Edward Larbi-Siaw, has said. He explained that the ministry was currently undergoing an impact assessment exercise of the tax cuts promised by the new administration in order to ascertain the necessary adjustment to make in the 2017 budget statement. Dr Larbi-Siaw told the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of the International Customs Day celebration in Accra that discussions on the reduction of the taxes had already begun, with the objective of introducing reforms to improve ease of doing business in the country. “We are working on the impact of the tax reductions promised by the government in order to know the necessary adjustments to make in the expenditure. When you modernise your system and expand your base, you will be able to make up for what you have given directly,” he said. Among the economic interventions promised by the NPP ahead of the elections was the reduction in taxes to ease the high cost of doing business in the country. Taxes such as the 17.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on financial services and domestic air tickets will be scrapped, while others such as the corporate income tax will be reduced from 25 to 20 per cent. Also, the special import levy, the 17.5 per cent VAT on imported medicines and the five per cent VAT on real estate are expected to be abolished under the new government. Meanwhile, the 17.5 per cent VAT for small enterprises is expected to be reduced to three per cent flat rate. International Customs Day celebration The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) joined its counterparts around the globe to mark the 2017 International Customs Day. The theme for the celebration was: "Data analysis for effective border management". Dr Larbi-Siaw, who was the special guest of honour, indicated that with globalisation, the trade and transport community continued to seek simplification of data requirements for international trade transactions on account of legal and regulatory regimes at the borders. Pursuant to those developments, he said, there was consensus among member countries of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) that global harmonisation and simplification of systems and procedures could be achieved through learning from other countries. “It is becoming increasingly necessary for customs administrations worldwide to share and exchange data and information,” the tax policy advisor said. For his part, the Commissioner General of the GRA, Mr George Blankson, said customs played a pivotal role in economic development through efficient targeted controls and the facilitation of legitimate trade. He said the Customs Division was moving on the path of modernisation and intended to employ sophisticated equipment to make customs and border clearance easier and faster. World Customs Organisation The message by the Secretary General of the WCO, Mr Kunio Mikuriya, urged customs communities to pursue their effort and activities in the area of data analysis in order to ensure effective border management. It stated that customs administrations had shown a keen interest in leveraging the potential of information technology, implementing and using digital technologies to achieve their objectives and responding to the expectations of traders, transport and logistic operators, as well as governments.
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