TAX CUTS, JOB LOSSES TOP EXPECTATIONS OF 2017 BUDGET
Pending the budget presentation by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta tomorrow, industry players and business associations have reiterated calls for the solutions to their numerous needs to be captured in the budget.
The budget, the first for the NPP government, is expected to capture how the government intends to allocate its resources for the operations of the various sectors of the economy.
It is also expected to outline how the government intends to address the various monetary and fiscal policies that have affected the smooth running of businesses.
In an interview with Citi Business News, the President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), James Asare Adjei said, he anticipates among others a reduction in the numerous tax charges currently levied on businesses.
“There are a number of taxes that AGI considers as nuisance and there are others too that we think that when they are done away with it will boost the production capacity of our businesses…if you remove the 5% import duty on raw materials we will definitely be competitive as industries and for that matter, it will be able to promote exports,” he observed.
President Akufo Addo in his first state of the nation address assured Ghanaians that the budget will contain pragmatic solutions to all relevant requests by various stakeholders.
Also, the government has identified tax cuts as well as other incentives to boost local production.
But the AGI boss believes widening the tax net will be an alternative to relieve businesses of their burden.
“The whole issue goes beyond how much revenue you are looking for but then what extent do you expand the tax net such that more people will be roped in because you have a tax friendly environment if those taxes which have outlived their usefulness are also removed.”
In a related development, labour unions are highly confident of policies to favour the provision of jobs.
The labour unions contend that employers should be able to absorb more labour if they are cushioned with lower costs of production.
Already, the NPP government has outlined ambitious plans to create jobs through innovations in the agric and manufacturing sectors.
The General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU), Solomon Kotei tells Citi Business News government would also need to settle all outstanding issues with pensions and welfare of labour.
“Our core thing is that we are looking for a budget that will bring hope for job opportunities because unemployment has been a serious challenge to this country and we will see how job openings will rear its head in the current budget.” Solomon Kotei said.
“We will also look forward to see a budget that will address the issues that people who are on pension are even currently facing. As I talk to you people on pensioners have not received their salaries from January, February and now we are in March,” he added.