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The President Must Pay Taxes Too – Nduom   
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Entrepreneur and politician Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom has called for removing the tax exemption status enjoyed by the president of Ghana.

With the introduction of fresh and higher taxes and levies on incomes of individuals and businesses, and on petroleum products -- as well as the removal of tax exemption on capital gains and activities on the capital market -- Dr. Nduom expressed surprise that the President still enjoys tax exemption.

According to the Income Tax 2015 (Act 896), the salary, allowance, facilities, pension and gratuity of the President in accordance with Article 68(5) of the Constitution is exempt from tax.

“I prefer repealing the item in the constitution that exempts the president from paying tax. It is wrong, and absolutely wrong. You can’t have the president not paying tax. What moral right does the president then have to come and ask you and I to pay tax?” he said at a media interaction in Accra.

The new Income Tax Act as well as other taxes and levies have caused a major brouhaha in the country, with organised labour readying to stage a demonstration to press home demands for reductions.

The new levies on petroleum products will squeeze out of consumers an incremental revenue of GH¢3.2billion annually, based on volumes of petrol, diesel and LPG consumed in 2015, an analysis by the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has shown.

Contrary to the Finance Ministry’s position that the new levies will bring only a 5 percent increase on the price of petrol, 2.9 percent on the price of diesel, and a 1.74 percent increase in the price of LPG, ACEP said its analysis shows a much “greater and punitive” effect.

By taking account of the Special Petroleum Tax, which is charged on the ex-pump, ACEP arrived at a price increase per litre of 33 percent for petrol, 40 percent for diesel and 22 percent for LPG per kg.

Dr. Nduom believes government cannot continue to tax the easiest things it can lay hands on while it fails to widen the tax net through a proper identification system.

“We need to restructure our identification system so that everyone is registered onto the system and we know what people are doing, and this can easily lead to a broadening of the tax base and making a cash-lite society. If we have an effective, efficient and robust identification system, who can evade taxes forever?” he asked.

The Chairman of Groupe Nduom also called for strengthening the tax authority with the best technology and human resources. “We have to think broader and do a lot more, so that we can bring other people into the tax bracket and collect more.”
Source: B&FT

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