The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), Rt. Rev. Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante has admonished Ghanaians to develop the mindset of paying more taxes to contribute to national development.
In an interview with GBC news, Reverend Mante stressed the need for effective taxation which would spur on the mobilization of revenue for the progress of the country.
Without making a definite pronouncement on whether or not he supports the controversial E–levy currently before Parliament, the man of God lamented the number of persons who were paying tax to the state for development.
He said the low numbers of taxpayers did not bode well for the nation.
“Even as we in Ghana now are thinking about budget…whether we should pay e-levy and so on and so forth, what I want to say is whether it is E-levy or not, every Ghanaian must tune his or her mind to the fact that paying taxes is what will move us forward. Any country that we have seen in this world that have progressed, they are paying lots of taxes. In Norway, you go there and the taxes they are paying…. over 40% of taxes and the tax base is spread. In Ghana, less than 10% of the population is paying taxes which is a serious matter. So, we all need to have a mindset of tax paying. We should pay more taxes than we are doing," he said.
The moderator also entreated the government to be circumspect in how it introduces taxes to the citizenry.
Touching on the rate of the controversial E-levy, he said government should start with a much lesser rate rather than implementing the 1.75% rate it is currently pushing.
“I want to suggest to government with all seriousness that whiles I’m talking about paying taxes so that we can move ahead, please do it slowly for us…bit by bit so that we just don’t start 1.75 “kim.” It becomes a killer for people. People must get used to it. As we move along if you increase it little by little it will help all of us,” he advised.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta at the presentation of the 2022 budget statement said less than 10 percent of the country’s 30.8 million population pay direct taxes, in a situation he said was “a poor reflection” on the country when compared to other middle-income countries.
“Only 2,364,348 are bearing the burden of the entire population as taxpayers as of August 2021,” he said.
He also announced government’s plan to slap a 1.75% charge on all e-electronic transactions including mobile money – a move strongly opposed by the Minority in parliament.
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