The Association of Ghana Industries, AGI, is entreating Parliament to take a decision on the tax exemptions bill which was brought before the house in 2019.
The push by the Association follows calls by many stakeholders to government to put in place measures to ensure the State is not deprived of billions of cedis, especially through tax exemptions every year.
The Association believes the exemptions regime has suffered many abuses, often resulting in revenue losses for Government.
In an interview with Citi Business News, the Greater Accra regional chair of the Association of Ghana Industries, Tsonam Akpeloo urged government to use the upcoming mid-year budget review to expedite action on the passage of the exemptions bill into law to streamline the process and equally engender transparency.
“The exemption bill has been on the table for quite some time now. It’s been one of the things that we’ve been advocating, because we believe that it’s high time parliament finally passed the bill into law. The issue is that the tax exemption bill, has not been properly streamlined in the past. It appears that it’s subject to discretion of officials of the ministry, and as a result, we believe government is losing a lot of revenue. So, we need to have this publicly streamlined in order for our members to be fully aware of the requirements of qualifying to be able to assess tax exemption,’ he said.
The Tax Exemptions Bill was laid in Parliament in the first quarter of 2019 to, among other things, harmonise the tax exemption and incentives regime in the country and help make it more efficient.
It will comprise tax waivers given to local and foreign companies to encourage increased investment and more foreign direct investment in the economy.
In November last year, government announced that plans were far advanced for the passage of the Tax Exemptions Bill. According to him, Cabinet is deliberating on the final draft of the Bill.
However, Government last month withdrew the Tax Exemptions Bill from Parliament to make way for corrections and amendments to the bill. Already data from the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), shows that Ghana loses over GHC 5 billion every year through tax exemptions alone