John Gatsi, a Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), is skeptical about the proposed tax amnesty by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
He believes that this measure will neither enhance tax payments nor address the challenges associated with tax payment.
Dr. Bawumia, the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party, has promised to introduce a tax amnesty and a simple, citizen- and business-friendly flat tax regime if elected president.
During his address at the University of Professional Studies, Accra, he outlined his vision for a new tax regime.
This would involve a flat tax based on a percentage of income for individuals and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which make up 98% of all businesses in Ghana.
The proposed system includes appropriate exemption thresholds to protect the poor and promises a simplified corporate tax system and VAT regime.
However, Professor Gatsi argues that this measure does not address the primary challenge of tax collection in the country.
He identifies the main issue as a lack of commitment from citizens to voluntarily pay taxes, as they perceive no direct benefits.
In an interview with Umaru Sanda Amadu on Eyewitness News, Professor Gatsi suggested that the country should focus on enhancing public services.
He believes that this would motivate people to pay their taxes.
“Even if you give everybody tax amnesty for which everybody should start afresh, that will not bring about any change because that is not the main problem of tax collection in the country.”
“The main problem is that people are not committed to the payment of taxes if they are supposed to voluntarily declare to pay taxes because it does not commensurate with the provision of public infrastructure for the people. Public transport is not the best. Access to public services is not the best for most people in Ghana, therefore they don’t see why they should be paying taxes. Those are the issues that should be addressed,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), has declared that it will sign a social contract with political leaders vying for the presidency in 2025. This agreement would be based on their economic policies and manifesto commitments.
President of the Association, Dr. Joseph Obeng, indicated that the decision is to ensure that the business community and Ghanaians hold the next president accountable.
Speaking to the GNA, he said GUTA has observed that presidential candidates are beginning to listen to and align with the requirements of the business community in their visions.
Dr. Obeng added that the business sector is interested in policies which, when implemented, would support business growth while contributing to revenue generation through taxation and job creation for the youth. He encouraged all political parties and their leaders, as well as individual aspirants, to extensively engage the association to incorporate their needs in their manifestos.
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