Parliament’s Finance Committee has invited the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta to respond to concerns by various business associations over the implementation of the 3% VAT Flat rate scheme.
The invitation also comes on the back of the numerous petitions by the businesses to Parliament on the impact of the VAT on their operations. The Ranking Member of the Finance Committee in Parliament, Cassiel Ato Forson believes the explanation to be given by Mr. Ken Ofori Atta should bring an eventual respite to the businesses.
“We are going to meet with the AGI, Unilever, importers among others to listen to them. We will also invite the Minister of Finance and lay before him what the industry is saying and we will actually look at the Memorandum of the Bill; the intent of the bill and what actually they are doing the law is saying,” he stated. The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on July 1st, 2017 commenced the implementation of the 3% VAT Flat Rate Scheme.
The policy which hitherto was restricted to some categories of businesses in the retail sector, has been extended to cover manufacturers and importers. This has also led to about twenty percent rise in the prices of goods. Mr. Cassiel Ato Forson who was a Deputy Finance Minister under the past NDC administration also maintained that the initial memorandum didn’t include importers hence views the latest twist as a breach of the provisions. He believes the invitation should help avert what he describes as a potential passage of a new tax.
“We will not agree that taxation be passed through the backdoor; the intent should be clear. The memorandum of the bill was that they were actually exempting the taxpayer from keeping records to make it simplified. They also said that in terms of revenue, it is negligible because it is not adding to an increase in taxes …but from what we are hearing, the impact is very different,” Mr. Forson further remarked. He added, “This very much differs from the object of the bill and so we will ask them to come back and correct what they have to do.”