The Minority in Parliament has accused government of misleading Ghanaians with its promise to abolish taxes on the importation of spare parts.
Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, contended that the Customs Amendment Bill approved by Parliament is aimed at getting the necessary legislative backing to remove the import duties on spare parts, is only fulfilling partially what was promised in the budget.
Parliament on Tuesday approved the Bill which seeks to give legal backing to the tax cuts on import duties, pending approval by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
According to Ato Forson, the new Bill only removes a section of the import tax, but other equally important levies such as import VAT and import NHIL, will still be in force after the approval.
The abolition of import duties on spare parts is one of the several tax cuts captured by the 2017 budget, and hyped by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to alleviate the burden on spare parts importers and Ghanaians as a whole.
But speaking to Citi News on Tuesday, Cassiel Ato Forson insisted that, the new Bill is contrary to what was promised Ghanaians.
“From the onset when the budget was read, I made a point that this budget is very deceptive and the intent that the budget had communicated, the implementation will be different. And I’ve been proven right. Government has brought an amendment to the customs act contrary to what the budget signaled that they intend to do. They said that they intended to abolish and they used the word abolish. They said the intent is to abolish import duties on spare parts. Now the spare parts have all of a sudden become selected…and contrary to what they [NPP] are saying, it’s only about 60 percent of the spare parts that they are removing the taxes on. “
“The taxes they are removing are not the entire duties, but some import duties. When you say duty on spare parts, we have import duties which they have removed some of them, but import VAT and import NHIL is still staying. So my caution is that, our brothers and sisters in that industry should be aware that the duties that have been abolished today as a result of the passage of this bill waiting for the President to assent, we will not get blanket exemption but rather what we will get is that, only import duties will be exempted, but the Import VAT and import NHIL still stay and they are going to pay that. “
He also added that, Ghanaians should be mindful that the tax cuts are temporal, and would return in the year 2021 following some ECOWAS treaties which Ghana had signed.
“…This tax can only last up to 2020 and in 2021, no matter who is in government it is going to come back. I’m saying this because Ghanaians need to be educated on that so that tomorrow when this tax comes back they would not say that government A has done this and government B is trying to do something else,” he added.
Meanwhile, a Deputy Minister for Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng, argued that government has conducted extensive consultations on the tax amendment; hence they are optimistic that it will bring relief to spare parts dealers.
“…I also would like to state that, what government is seeking to do with this measure is to remove its own contribution to the price buildup of spare parts in the country, with the objective that this will be translated to the benefit of businesses and the consumers of transportation services,” the Deputy Minister added.
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