Business News of Friday, 25 January 2013
The Finance Minister-designate, Seth Terkper is proposing a review of Ghana’s tax laws which he claimed are out-of-date and not too efficient.
“One important step which we have not been able to achieve in the last term of parliament was reviewing our tax laws. Many of our tax laws are fifteen years old, some are actually twenty,” he told the Appointment Committee of Parliament when he took his turn on Thursday.
Mr Terkper however said measures are being taken to improve the efficiency of revenue collection in the system.
For instance, he said, some important steps were taken, such as the integration of the VAT and the then-Internal Revenue Service to create a domestic tax department leading to the establishment of the Ghana Revenue Authority .
He also mentioned the moving of the revenue collection system to an electronic platform, which he said “is underway”.
Mr Terkper announced that there is going to be a comprehensive review of the three major tax laws: VAT, income tax, and customs, “and indeed do a tax administration act”.
“So one of my priorities will be to work with your august house (Parliament) to make sure that we give the country new tax laws as the house has collaborated with the ministry of finance to do in the past, particularly in the 1990’s when we implemented many reforms which many African countries have followed and our tax laws back then were the model which many countries in Africa have used. We’ve fallen behind,” he pointed out.
Deputy Chair of the Committee, Mr Alfred Agbesi asked whether the review would not bring extra burden on tax payers.
He answered: “I do not see the improvement of the tax laws as imposing extra burden, in fact, the essence is to clarify various positions of the laws and to learn from the other experience of other countries, so that we can improve them for the benefit of tax payers; it is not just about revenue.”