VAT on over 1,000 imported items scraped; gov’t touts “unmatched” economic feat

The Nana Akufo-Addo-led government is touting its “unmatched” economic achievement  in less than two years in office, as it announces the removal of value added tax (VAT) on over 1,000 items that will be imported into Ghana.

Boasting of the economic management competence of the government, vice president Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said the achievement they have recorded within this short period is unmatched because inherited a poor economy when they assumed governance in January 2017.

Speaking in Accra at a forum to interact with prospective young entrepreneurs, Dr. Bawumia said the decision to remove VAT from the over 1,000 selected import items were necessitated by concerns raised about high import tariffs which continue to be a major challenge.

“…just yesterday…after discussions at the economy management team, we realized what was really going on, and we took quick steps to remove import VAT on over a 1,000 items in 64 commodity areas,” he stated.

He argued this tax relief, which is an addition to the 15 taxes abolished or reduced in the 2017, would give a big boost to businesses in the country, saying “this is going to help business”.

Senior Minister Osafo Maafo and Finance Minister Ofori-Atta are a part of the economic management team

“This efforts exclude the many other tax cuts and reductions outlined in the 2017 budget. In fact we have abolished or reduced 15 separate taxes in the 2017 budget. Clearly, this government’s record on taxation has not only been supportive of the business environment, it is also unmatched in our recent economic history” he boasted.

Dr. Bawumia explained the various interventions being undertaking by the government are geared towards creating a conducive business environment to “balance the books” to achieve what he termed “the first ever positive primary budget balance over the decade”.

Government, he said, has achieved significant contraction of the fiscal deficit from 9.3 per cent by the end of 2016 to 5.6 per cent.

“In fact, 2017 was the first year since 2006,that any government had set a target and not only meet it [but did] better,” he said.

The feat achieved thus, he said has left many people confused considering that in view of the “big debt and deficit” as well as economic growth of 3.6% inherited by the Akufo-Addo government, they managed to restore the trainee nurses and teachers’ allowances, reduce electricity tariffs and reduce or abolish some taxes.

Street salesmen in Accra, Ghana’s capital. The country is likely to have one of the world’s fastest-growing economies this year.

Dr. Bawumia said the government again introduced the free senior high school education and again have grown the economy to 7.9 per cent from the 3.6 per cent.

“This is what we call good economy management and the president and the government is very serious about,” he assured.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah||Ghana

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