Dr Joyce Aryee, a former minister of information during the rule of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), has suggested to the government to review the laws on taxing churches in Ghana.
Aryee’s comment comes amid ongoing consultation by the government to get the controversial electronic transaction levy (E-Levy) bill passed following stiff opposition from the Minority in Parliament and a cross section of Ghanaians.
“So this thing about churches paying taxes, I think we also need to look at the rules again. In other jurisdictions, I think they have a law. I think Britain has it. I think they have a charities board and there are short rules, if we want to start something like that, so that there is a threshold, and then there is monitoring,” Aryee said on Townhall Talk on Asaase Radio (25 February).
“So, what I am saying is that if we want to change the rules for registration, or if we want to set up a charities commission, then we should do that. If we think from the perception of what is happening, maybe they shouldn’t be registered as companies limited by guarantee, then I think we should do so.”
Aryee added: “But I think we have enough opportunity to actually monitor what is happening. You know I am involved in a choir, and one time we had a concert and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) came there, because we decided to charge gate fees. The GRA came there and monitored.”
“So, if we decide to monitor well and think certain things should be done better, I think we should do so rather than throwing our arms in despair and saying they are living flamboyantly and so on. Is there a law against flamboyance?
“How do you know the shirt the person is wearing is a gift, and some people think they should support their ministers, now if you buy a car for someone, are you going to pursue gift tax? You should be able to do all these things… If we need to tax them, then let us do so, but don’t let us use perception to judge them,” the former CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines told Kofi Abotsi.
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