SMEs must take advantage of tax waivers passed by government

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Mr Samuel Foli, Ho Sector Commander, Ghana revenue Authority (GRA) Customs Division, has asked Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of the new tax regime passed by Parliament including waivers for small scale businesses.

Parliament has passed three new tax laws policies and amended two existing ones to be implemented in 2021 as part of the government’s budget statement including waivers for SMEs.

He mentioned the laws as COVID-19 health recovery levy ACT 1068, 2021; penalty and interest waiver ACT 1065, 2021; and financial sector recovery levy ACT 1067, 2021.

The amended existing laws are energy sector levy (Amendment) ACT 1064 and Income tax ACT 1066.

Mr Foli, an Assistant Commissioner of Customs disclosed these during a multi-stakeholder business integrity forum, a capacity building and awareness workshop for Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Ho.

The event was under the theme, “Promoting Good Business Environment through Ethics, Integrity and Accountability,” and organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), local chapter for Transparency International with funding from the Netherlands Embassy.

He urged SMEs in the enclave to take advantage of the gesture.

He said the GRA Customs Division has deployed measures to improve tax and customs compliance by enforcing laws, implement deterrent strategies for wrong and false declarations.

He said his outlet has provided a one-stop service for the clearance of goods, expanded tax payment options, enhanced tax education, reduced clearance time and increased preventive operations.

The Commissioner said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sector had generated about GHC 10.5 billion for the state from January to December, last year.

He said traders, and SMEs could now pay duties or tax liabilities to any bank in the country with expanded payment options available in VISA, Mobile app, MOMO, Internet and walk-in banking.

Mr Michael H. Okai, Coordinator of GII said the COVID-19 pandemic was already devastating bigger companies and businesses and that SMEs could not be unscathed.

He said SMEs challenges are huge and needed to be supported to flourish despite their situation.
The Coordinator said corruption has a negative impact on the survival, growth and sustainability of SMEs and urged enterprises to voice out on corrupt activities and tendencies to stem the menace.

“Don’t sit aloof but fight corruption or it swallow you up.”

He asked the SMEs to take advantage of the budget waivers and apply.

Mr Okai said other multi-stakeholder and media encounter has taken place in Cape Coast, Bolgatanga, Takoradi, Koforidua and Sunyani.
He said GII is an anti-corruption organisation solely working to curb corruption in the country.
Mr Seth Klutse, Regional Director of the Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA), formerly NBSSI said the Agency has been carefully fashioned to fill all the loopholes in the previous policy and remove all duplication as well.

He urged SMEs to keep records of their businesses and turnover to be beneficiaries of a GHC 145 Million support fund.
The concerns of SMEs in the enclave include failure by GRA to dialogue with traders and SMEs before agreeing to what tax to impose, no free zones area in the region and why foreigners attract tax exemptions compared to indigenes as well as the absence of the offices of the Registrar General of companies in the region.

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