The Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), Mark Badu-Aboagye, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the 2024 budget.
According to him, businesses and manufacturers were disappointed in the tax reliefs that the government offered leaving them hopeless ahead of the coming year.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta during his presentation of the 2024 Budget Statement in Parliament on Wednesday announced some measures to cushion Ghanaians.
Some reliefs prioritised by the government include the extension of the zero rates of VAT on locally manufactured African prints, sanitary pads and locally assembled vehicles, as well as waivers on import duties for electric vehicles and agricultural machinery.
To address environmental concerns, Mr Ofori-Atta announced the government’s plan to expand the Environmental Excise Duty to cover plastic packaging, industrial emissions, and vehicle emissions.
But speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, Mr Badu-Aboagye said although the aforementioned tax reliefs would make essential products such as sanitary more affordable, it is narrow-based since it would benefit a few companies.
“They are not going to have any significant impact on the cost of doing business in 2024 because it’s just a few selected companies that will largely benefit from that. Also looking at the proportion of those who are manufacturing sanitary pads and African prints, they are just small.
“What we were expecting was a tax relief that would have a broad base and significant impact on a larger scale of the manufacturing sector. All the things that we asked for, we didn’t see any of them being taken care of,” he said on Wednesday.
The CEO further listed key expectations that were not addressed in the budget, including the abolition of the COVID-19 levy, and a reduction in the E-levy rate to 0.5 percent.
“We have said that the Covid-19 Levy is counterproductive and it should be abolished totally. But it was mentioned. Also the E-levy, we have said that if they want to rake in more revenue, they have to reduce the rate to 0.5, and I think people will pay without even knowing. They need revenue, we are giving them ways that we think that they can use to rake in more revenue,” he told host Evans Mensah.
He criticized the current VAT structure, urging a consolidation and a reduction of the NHIL and GetFund levies, but observed that no action was taken in that regard.
Despite these criticisms raised, Mr Ofori-Atta has assured Ghanaians that the 2024 budget is going to be a game changer.
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