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Scrap Overtime Allowance Tax - ICU   
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Ignatius Baffour-Awuah
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The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), Ghana has appealed to the government to scrap some of what it calls ‘nuisance taxes’ impeding the growth of businesses in the country.

The union specifically called for the abolition of the tax on overtime for workers, as it served as a disincentive for them to put in extra time to increase productivity.

“ICU-Ghana would want to humbly remind Your Excellency Mr President to consider directing the tax authorities to waive the taxes on overtime, as it serves as a great disincentive for workers to perform overtime work to meet the production targets of their employers who are fortunate to have survived the abominable energy crisis that hit our nation and threw a lot of business plans out of gear,” it said.

The union had earlier commended the government for heeding to the cry of the private sector by scrapping some taxes and asked that it consider scrapping the tax on overtime.

The General Secretary of the ICU, Mr Solomon Kotei, made the appeal at the opening ceremony of the 10th quadrennial national delegates conference of the union in Kumasi last Thursday.

It was on the theme: “Our employers’ vision, our concern.”

Tax burden

Mr Kotei noted that from 2012 to 2016, workers and employers and a large number of Ghanaians were burdened with what had been christened ‘nuisance’ taxes.

Some of those taxes, he said, were in the form of petroleum tax, communication tax, financial services tax, excessive import duties, excessive corporate tax, high interest rate, among others.

“These nuisance taxes made transacting business in Ghana extremely costly, thereby visiting upon majority of Ghanaians a very high cost of living,” he stated.

He cited the cost of credit and utilities as some of the challenges facing the private sector in the country, adding, “Among the immediate causes of the high cost of transacting business in Ghana was and still is the extremely high interest rate charged by banks.”

Equal partners

Dwelling on the theme, the General Secretary of the ICU said there was the need for employers to see workers as equal partners and collaborate with each other to achieve the set targets of companies.

He said the union was into supporting business and industry to grow and be profitable, as “their success ensures the sustainability of our work and guarantees us a livelihood.”

According to him, the members of the union would continue to acquaint themselves with and help their employers realise their missions, visions and values for the growth and profitability of their businesses.

“We pledge to partner and collaborate with our employers and see ourselves as part owners of their businesses and in that way help increase productivity to sustain their businesses,” he said.

Union commended

The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, for his part, commended the union for its decision to partner employers to grow businesses for the mutual benefit of all.

He appealed to employers to involve their employees in the decision-making process, as it made implementation easier.

Responding to the union complaint of high cost of credit to businesses, the minister explained that in as much as the cost of credit was still a bit high for businesses, the situation was much better now than it was in the past.

On power supply, while admitting that ‘dumsor’ had not been totally eradicated, he gave an assurance that the government would do all within its power to ensure that the private sector had uninterrupted power supply.

Solidarity message

The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, Mr Ken Ashigbey, who delivered a solidarity message at the conference, praised the union for the cordial relationship it had had with management over the years which he said had ensured smooth negotiations over the years.

He joined in the call by the ICU General Secretary on the government to consider scrapping the tax on overtime which, he said, did not encourage employees to work overtime to increase productivity.

He took advantage of the opportunity to sell the Graphic apps to the delegates and invited them to download them and subscribe to the digital version of the newspapers in the stable of the GCGL.
Source: Daily Graphic

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