National | Politics

2024 Elections; Bawumia, GUTA hold fruitful engagement

The Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, and the Ghana Union of Traders' Association (GUTA) have held discussions in Accra, on the proposed policies and vision of the flagbearer.

GUTA President Dr. Joseph Obeng Darko, opened the forum, before inviting his members to the floor, to share their concerns and also make suggestions about their sector to Dr. Bawumia and his team.

Dr. Bawumia relaxed protocols and allowed many GUTA members, to freely interact with him in a friendly manner.

The GUTA President started by commending Dr. Bawumia, on behalf of the union, for his proposed tax reforms, which include proposals to grant tax amnesty to businesses and individuals, as a foundation for the new flat tax rate the NPP flagbearer plans to introduce under his Presidency in 2025, should he win the presidential election.

"We agree with your flat tax proposal because it will simplify things for us and our businesses," said the GUTA President.

"The reason why we like the tax amnesty and flat tax rate policy is that if you give us the amnesty and the flat tax rate, it will help our businesses. It means that we are going to do the right thing, which will be benchmarked against the next five years as you have proposed,' added the GUTA President.

The GUTA President reiterated the concerns of businesses and traders on harassment by tax officials as a result of the present tax system, which Dr. Bawumia has promised to overhaul.

He also raised several other concerns, and also made some suggestions to Dr. Bawumia, to consider as part of his policies for the business community.

Several members of GUTA, from the various regions who got the opportunity to speak, also embraced Dr. Bawumia's tax reforms, especially the flat rate and the tax amnesty, and also echoed the concerns earlier expressed by their national president.

Dr. Bawumia's Response

The NPP Flagbearer responded to every question and suggestion made by GUTA, assuring them that creating a conducive environment for their businesses to thrive is of utmost concern and priority to him, hence his well-thought-through tax reforms proposals.

"My major goal is to make Ghana one of the most business-friendly economies in the world," Dr. Bawumia told the GUTA members.

"My government will be a business-centred government. I want, thus, to move quite a number of government expenditure to the private sector. When this happens, government's expenditure will reduce and the private sector will also thrive."

Dr. Bawumia noted that one of the biggest problems Ghanaian businesses face is the present complex tax system, which, he said, businesses don't understand, and also breeds non-compliance with tax obligations and corruption.

"You find it even very difficult to calculate what you owe. You are only told what you owe without really knowing how it happened," he said.

"In trying to find a solution to this, I went to Estonia, one of the most business-friendly countries in the world, to study their tax system and I discovered that the key for them is the flat rate tax system they have, which is clear, transparent and with a very high compliant rate."

"This is what I want to introduce in Ghana, to make Ghana a business-friendly country and one of the most business-friendly nations in the world."

Dr. Bawumia explained further that the proposed tax amnesty is aimed at giving businesses and individuals who owe tax for some time now, a clean slate before the new tax system is introduced.

"Many of these unpaid debts are as a result of legacy problems we have with our existing tax system. We want everyone to start afresh so the tax amnesty will ensure everyone starts on a clean slate in 2025, by the grace of God, and then the flat tax rate will apply."

Dr. Bawumia also explained other policies he has proposed, which he said are aimed at reducing the cost of doing business in Ghana.

He spoke on reviewing VAT, benchmarking Ghana's port charges with Togo to ensure parity to avoid smuggling, as well as the proposal for flat rate import duties on containers, to avoid fluctuations of import charges.

Since his major policy address in February, Dr. Bawumia has been meeting key stakeholders of different sectors to explain his policies and also seek their input.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.