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Employers want gov’t to harmonise statutory fees, charges

The Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA) has recommended government to prioritise the synchronisation of statutory fees and charges by key state institutions.

GEA, as part of key recommendations for the 2023 budget statement, stated that harmonising levies and charges of state ‘Authorities’ – such as the Ghana Tourism Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Standards Authority, Energy Commission and Petroleum Commission, among others – will avoid the proliferation of such fees paid by businesses to regulators which do not flow into the Consolidated Fund.

President of GEA, Dan Acheampong, maintained that the situation has been creating the impression that businesses are not paying enough taxes.

“The reality is that these charges, levies and fees are suffocating businesses,” Mr. Acheampong explained at a forum hosted by GEA and organised labour to make inputs and suggestions into the 2023 budget as part of ensuring fiscal consolidation.

GEA admitted that revenue shortfalls have been the main challenge in this current dispensation.

The Association however recommend that revenue measures toward fiscal consolidation should focus on expediting implementation of the Tax Exemption bill, which has been passed by Parliament to ensure efficient and effective tax exemption management.

“We want government to automate the collection of property taxes to prevent government officials from interfacing with the tax revenues received. Also, the benchmark value policy covering imported goods that are not produced locally must be looked at,” he said.

The Association asked that government considers digitalising road toll collection infrastructure, and reinstating the road tolls to diversify government’s revenue portfolio.

On E-levy, GEA wants a reduction from the 1.5 percent to 0.50 percent while retaining the current exemptions to make the policy more attractive.

“Learn from the experience of East African countries and apply a financial services levy of between 10-15 percent on the transaction fees of all financial services, instead of just the E-levy.”

As teacher and nursing training institutions have now been elevated to tertiary status, GEA argued that nurses and teacher training allowances should be abolished, and opportunities provided for students to access the students’ loan facility that is available for universities and technical universities.

“The GhanaCard is already helping to eliminate ‘ghost names’ from government payroll. We further suggest that enhanced digital platforms be developed and sustained for use in cleaning the payroll to eliminate all payroll and employee compensation irregularities,” it recommended.

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