Parliament is expected to give attention to Exemptions Bill, 2021 when sitting resumes next year.
The bill which was laid by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta on November 16, 2021 is currently before the finance committee.
The Bill seeks to streamline and rationalize the current exemptions regime on taxes, levies, fees and charges to improve domestic revenue mobilization by consolidating the already existing statutory provisions on tax and other exemptions and to provide for the administration of exemptions. The bill has been in and out of parliament for a while now.It expired with the 7th parliament after it was laid and referred to the finance committee. There are however moves to ensure the current bill is passed before leaving the house of legislature this time around.
Ghana loses over GH¢5 billion every year through tax exemptions, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs. The Ghana Revenue Authority has had a cause to complain about revenues lost to granting of indiscriminate exemptions.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s round-table discussion on the 2021 tax exemptions bill, head of exemptions for GRA Mrs. Adelaide Botchway declared steps must be taken to check abuse of the exemptions regime
“…past beneficiaries, they are enormous. But when you look at the percentage, critically, it appears the exemptions are even outweighing the revenue we are collecting.”
“And then the abuses are also on a higher side. But GRA is trying as much as possible to monitor the exemption and curb the abuses.” She said.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has assured the bill will be passed in the next meeting of parliament which starts in January 2022.
Some civil society including the Tax Justice Coalition, Ghana (TJC); the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC); and the Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica) with support from OXFAM are on a crusade to get the bill passed. The group has also tabled amendments to the bill in order to curb abuses.
Parliament is currently on a break but Chairman for the Finance Committee Kwaku Kwarteng tells Starr News the Exemptions Bill will be one of the key pieces of legislation his committee will devote time to when the house resumes.