You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2017 06 26Article 552544

Opinions of Monday, 26 June 2017

Columnist: King David Dzirasah

President Nana Akufo-Addo does not pay taxes

Chapter 8 Article 68 clause 5 of the Constitution of Ghana states that the president's salary, allowance, facilities, pensions, and gratuity shall be exempted from tax. This means that the president of the republic is exempted from taxes on benefits he enjoys.

The constitution which came into effect in 1992 exempted all previous presidents in the fourth republic from paying taxes. This section of the constitution is an evidence of the excessive privileges given to the president. This does not serve any positive role in nation building.

As the current leader President Nana Addo is entering into his 6th month in office, there is no evidence that shows that he has been paying taxes on his constitutional stipulated benefits. In the USA, the not only pay taxes but his tax returns a released periodically for public consumption.

In our case the law already stipulates that the president should not pay taxes hence any statement made by the president as to the effect that he pays taxes on his benefits is null and void since there is no evidence nor legal instrument compelling him to do so.

The President Nana Addo during 2016 electioneering period promised Ghanaians that he will change the status quo. After six months into office, there is no evidence that the president pays taxes nor is there any evidence stating his intentions of having the law amended for him to pay.

Retrospectively, it is surprising how former Presidents Rawlings, Mills, Kuffour, and Mahama saw no reason to amend the law while in office. Irrespective of the achievements the made one can conclude that this singular failure on their part exposes the selfish nature as elites and how morally bankrupt our constitution is.

The finance minister in the presentation of 2017 in parliament took much pleasure in telling the world how gov't would take initiatives to reduce several taxes.

He politically relished the euphoria since he sought to score cheap political points yet he did not take into consideration the fact that his own boss does not pay taxes in this country. Where is the sense of equality and justice when the prez together with his cohorts manipulate tax rates in this country knowing that the prez doesn't pay taxes.

It is important for the prez to do the right thing by having the law amended. Ghanaians and Ghanaian businesses who pay personal income taxes and corporate taxes respectively must rise and demand that the prez must have the law amended as soon as possible.

Going forward, it is important for elites especially political elites to know that they are elected to serve and not to be served. The constitution in it current form does not inspire confidence among the populace and all constitutional reform processes must be expedited for a better Ghana.