Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Parliament approves GH¢41.48m tax waiver for 4 institutions

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Parliament has approved a waiver of taxes and duties amounting to GH¢41.48 million for four state institutions.

The waiver will allow the Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMT) to enjoy tax rebates of GH¢14.78 million to procure vehicles for its operations, while the Ministry of Regional Reorganisation and Development (MRRD) will have a GH¢708,652 tax holiday on vehicles it intends to procure.

The approval will also pave the way for the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to have tax rebates amounting to GH¢841,645 on ammunition donated to it, with the Inter-city STC Company Limited receiving a tax break of GH¢25.14 million to enable it to acquire a fleet of vehicles.

Motion

The motion for request for the waivers was moved by the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, and seconded by the Ranking Member on the committee, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson.

The waivers include import duties, import Value Added Tax (VAT), the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) levy, the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL), the ECOWAS levy, the Ghana Export Import (EXIM) Bank levy, special import and African Union (AU) levies and other taxes totalling GH¢41.48 million for the four beneficiary institutions.

The request was presented to the House by a Deputy Minister of Finance, Mrs Abena Osei Asare, on behalf of the Minister of Finance, on Wednesday, February 19, 2020.

The Speaker subsequently referred the requests to the Finance Committee for consideration and report.

Justifications

Tabling the report before Parliament yesterday, Dr Assibey-Yeboah said many people relied on the services of the MMT as the only affordable means of commuting from one place to another, since it plied rural-urban and inter-city routes.

Unfortunately, he said, about 70 per cent of its buses had broken down, causing the company to suspend most of its operations.

“This has resulted in difficulties for many commuters who rely on MMT services,” he said, adding that in order to address those difficulties, the government had purchased 100 buses that had been deployed to various routes across the country.

“The government has also procured an additional 50 buses for the company. These buses have arrived at the Tema Port and the request is to enable the MMT to clear the buses and add them to its fleet,” he said.

Dr Assibey-Yeboah, who is the Member of Parliament for New Juaben South, told the House that as part of efforts to equip the six new regions and make them functional, the government had been providing them with the needed logistics.

“These vehicles are part of the logistics that the government is providing. The request, therefore, is to enable them to clear the vehicles from the port and distribute them to the six new regions for use,” he said.

Border patrols

He added that with the passage of the Ghana Immigration Service Act, 2016 (Act 908), the function of the GIS had now expanded to include manning and protecting the nation’s borders.

He said the borders were now opened 24 hours, in conformity with the ECOWAS protocol which aimed at facilitating the free movement of goods and persons.

He said the Finance Committee’s attention was also drawn to the precarious security situation within the sub-region and the need to adequately arm security personnel to protect Ghana’s borders.

Intercity STC

Dr Assibey-Yeboah further explained that as part of efforts by the government to revamp Inter-city STC, the Ministry of Finance procured 100 buses for the company.

The buses, he said, were delivered in two batches in November 2019 and January 2020 and were currently at the port, awaiting clearance.

The request, he added, was, therefore, to enable the company to clear all 100 buses, at an estimated duty of GH¢25.14 million.

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