An anti-corruption crusader has challenged government’s intention to abolish the 25% income tax paid by private universities in the country.
The minister in charge of tertiary education at the ministry of education has announced that the government will soon scrap the 25% corporate income tax on private universities in order to bring down fees.
Mr Vitus Azeem has christened the move as ‘Strange but great!’, “I expected it. The private universities have always campaigned for this. Is income tax a nuisance tax slapped only on private universities in Ghana by the Mahama administration?
Mr Azeem see the move as a ‘Conflict of interest’ on the side of the minister in charge of Tertiary Education at the presidency, Prof Kojo Yanka who also owns economic interest in a private university in the country.
Mr. Azeem has said, “Then private primary schools and secondary schools should also be exempted from paying income tax to bring down fees as they are also filling a gap in education that the government is unable to fill.
“I have been trying to explain to a friend why he should pay tax on his income from his private school. Then the government opens the gate. Why start with the universities and not the basic level? Conflcit of interest!,”
he added that, “private hospitals and clinics should also not pay income tax to reduce their charges. Health is a matter of life and death. Lowly paid salary workers should not pay the nuisance PAYE in order to reduce the tax burden on them.
This is not the way to go! Or no! How can we stop borrowing?
Every Ghanaian knows that income tax is a tax on income – profit – after all allowable (genuine business expenses) expenses have been deducted. How can income tax be a nuisance tax?, he quizzed.
If a private university does not want to pay taxes, it should charge low fees, pay the lecturers well so as not to declare income (profit). Then you will not pay income (nuisance) tax. Stop the bleeding!
Meanwhile, according to Charlotte Kpogli of ISODEC who is also worried about the move in a comment said, “My level 200 economics lecturer taught me that a loan today is payable by future tax. So if the government decides to operate a tax free system then we should know that it is either government doesn’t spend at all (which is impossible because at least workers must be paid), so that there will be no need for loan or government will have to borrow which must be paid in the future by the same citizens (if we are all alive/ all things being equal).
“So, I don’t think we should be happy not paying tax. We should rather fight to pay now to limit the interest on those loans.”
She added that, “Private universities are in business. I am sure even if the 25% is taking away, they will still charge the current fees and say they were going to increase it but the tax holiday prevented them. This issue must be looked at very well. These private universities charge so much and they don’t want to pay taxes.”
-Adnan Adams Mohammed