By Julian Owusu-Abedi
The much anticipated 2017 budget of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government was yesterday read on the floor of Parliament by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
Outlining the various policy projections, programmes, and implementation plans in detail, the Finance Minister announced major tax cuts in government’s first budget statement as promised by President Nana Addo Dankwa during the last electioneering campaign.
Mr. Ofori-Atta stated that “a number of tax measures have been introduced in recent years in an attempt to deal with revenue shortfalls. Some have proven to be nuisance taxes. They have no revenue yielding potential, and at the same time impose a significant burden on the private sector and on the average Ghanaian citizen. As part of our commitment to re-energize the private sector, the government has decided, as pledged, to review these taxes to provide relief for business.”
He explained the measures will help drive the job creation agenda of government, lessen hardship on Ghanaians and secure a business-friendly environment in the country.
Some of the abolished taxes announced yesterday to relief businessman were: The 1 % Special Import Levy, Kayayei Market Tolls, 17.5 % VAT/NHIL on financial services, 17.5 % VAT/NHIL on selected imported medicines, that are not produced locally, 17.5 % VAT/NHIL on domestic airline tickets .
The rest are: 5 % VAT/NHIL on Real Estate sales, Replaced 17.5% VAT/NHIL with 3 % flat rate for traders. tax credits and other incentives for businesses that hire young graduates from tertiary institutions, tax incentives for young entrepreneurs, duty on imported Spare parts Abolished, Corporate Income Tax to be progressively reduced from 25% to 20% in 2018
Excise duty on petroleum has been abolished whilst Special Petroleum tax rates has been reduced from 17.5% to 15%, National Electrification Levy has also been reduced from 5% to 3% as well as Public Lighting Levy which has also been reduced from 5% to 2%.
Mr Ken Ofori Atta also announced Gh¢456 million for the fulfillment of its one district-one factory campaign pledge as well as a Gh¢94 million for the commencement of its one-village one dam campaign pledge expected to take off later this year.