The Dean of the University of Cape Coast Business School, Professor John Gatsi has said that a promise by the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia to abolish some taxes should not be taken seriously.
He says Dr Bawumia does not have what it takes to to abolish those taxes.
Dr Bawumia had stated categorically that he would abolish the tax on electronic financial transactions, e-levy, if elected President of Ghana.
The controversial tax was introduced in 2022, and prior to the introduction, Vice President Bawumia had declared his opposition to levies on electronic financial transaction in an interview.
Delivering his first major address to the nation after his election as NPP flagbearer, during which he gave broad policy outlines of a Bawumia Presidency, Dr. Bawumia minced no words in declaring his opposition to taxes on electronic financial transactions, declaring that he will abolish e-levy as President.
“To move towards a cashless economy, however, we have to encourage the population to use electronic channels payment. To accomplish this, there will be no taxes on digital payments under my administration. The e-levy will therefore, be abolished,” he declared at the UPSA auditorium on February 7.
Dr. Bawumia also announced that as part of a new tax regime by his government, he will also abolish the emission tax, tax on betting as well as the proposed 15% VAT on electricity tariffs, if it is in existence by January 2025.
He also announced that his government would introduce what he described as a friendly, flat tax regime for Ghana, which will boost individuals and businesses, particularly small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs).
“My administration will introduce a very simple, citizen and business-friendly flat tax regime. A flat tax of a percentage of income for individuals and SMEs, which constitute 98% of all businesses in Ghana, with appropriate exemption thresholds set to protect the poor,” Dr. Bawumia indicated.
Asked whether this is feasible while speaking on Ghana Tonight show on TV3, Wednesday, February 7, Prof Gatsi said “It is not only whether they are feasible or not, they deepen credibility issues for the Vice president and for the government of Ghana.
“This is the way policies are developed and published to the public. For tax policies finance ministry could fine-tune whatever the policies are then it will be sent to the economic management team with Dr Bawumia in the chair, he will approve all those things that he is talking about, then the policy will go to cabinet for deliberation, Dr Bawumia will be the Number 2 person in cabinet, approve everything then it will be on its way to parliament.
“How do you believe somebody who sits in all these processes, approves all these things, then come to the public and say I will abolish them. He is only thinking about how to win elections and allow those things to continue. I am not sure he has what it takes to abolish them, which will not sink well with the IMF programme and that does not also sink well with his own belief and understanding in those policies. It is something we should just wish away.”
Meanwhile, Dr Bawumia explained that the economic management team does not have decision-making powers. The team, he said can only advise cabinet.
“I was thankfully appointed as chairman of the economic management team. As a sub-committee to the cabinet, we do not have any decision-making powers but I am very proud of the quality of advice that we have been providing over the years to cabinet,” he said.