The Council of State will within the course of the week meet the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to present its recommendations on demands for a review of import duties and taxes.
The move comes, following petition by some traders unions, including the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA), for the Council of State to intervene to review taxes and duties on imported items because they are too high.
Last Friday, the council met the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, and the leadership of GUTA, bringing the month-long consultative exercise to an end.
Before then, the council had held discussions with a number of stakeholders, including the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremateng, and the Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Isaac Crentsil.
The Council in a statement copied to the Daily Graphic has expressed its commitment to intervene in the issue of high duties and taxes on imported goods into the country within the framework of the government’s need to raise more revenue for development in a win – win fashion.
In its first budget statement and economic policy, the government, in 2017, abolished what it called nuisance taxes, which included the 17.5 per cent Value Added Tax and National Health Insurance Levy (VAT/NHIL) on financial services; 17.5 per cent VAT/NHIL on selected imported medicines; 17.5 per cent VAT/NHIL on domestic airline tickets and five per cent VAT/NHIL on real estate sales.
It also abolished duty on the importation of spare parts and the one per cent special import levy introduced in July 2013 and charged on the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of some specified goods.
Again, VAT/NHIL for traders was reduced from 17.5 per cent to a three per cent flat rate; the Special Petroleum Tax went down from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent; the National Electrification Scheme Levy was reduced from five per cent to three per cent, with the Public Lighting Levy being slashed from five per cent to two per cent.
The Council of State is a Constitutional set up that is tasked with the responsibility to “consider and advise the President or any other authority in respect of any appointment which is required by the Constitution or any other law to be made in accordance with the advice of, or in consultation with the council”.
It is also to “consider and make recommendations on any matter being considered or dealt with by the President, a Minister of State, or any other authority established by the Constitution”.