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Business News of Wednesday, 9 July 2003

Source: Statesman

Expect More Taxes - Finance Minister

Finance Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo has asked Ghanaians to expect more taxation in the wake of complaints by a cross-section of Ghanaians against high taxation by government. He has disputed allegations Ghana has the highest taxation in West Africa since 18 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was collected as tax revenue last year alone.

He told the press in Accra that the assertion cannot be true since the convergence criteria for taxation in West Africa is 20%, which all countries are aiming at.

Osafo Maafo therefore asked Ghanaians to expect more taxation since the government aims at meeting the convergence criteria of 20% of GDP tax rate to comply with one of the conditions for regional integration and monetary union.

On the suspension of additional duty on rice and poultry promised in the 2003 budget, the Minister said the duty was a protective mechanism for local production and not for revenue since the mark-up will not add much to national revenue.

He said the suspension of the duty was in response to an advise by visiting European Union Trades Commissioner, Pascal Larry that EU/ACP that negotiation should be better approached by a regional grouping such as ECOWAS rather than on a country-to-country basis, with harmonized trade policies.

This, he said made it imperative for the nation to align its policies on imports with its neighbours. Duties on rice and poultry across the sub-region, according to him showed that Ghana was the highest with 20% while Liberia, for example, has 5% duty on rice.