Government has completely removed all import duties on electric vehicles imported for the purpose of public transport in Ghana, and the Founder and CEO of Ghana’s leading electric vehicle company, Solar Taxi, Jorge Appiah says it is a step in the right direction.
The relief was announced by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta in his 2024 Budget presentation to Parliament on Wednesday, November 14, 2023.
The tax waiver on the importation of electric vehicles for public transportation is for eight (8) years, while there is an additional waiver of import duties on semi-knocked down and completely knocked down electric vehicles imported by registered EV assembly companies in Ghana also for eight (8) years.
There is another waiver of VAT (value-added tax) on locally assembled vehicles two years.
Recently, the Chief Executive Officer of State Transport Company (STC), Nana Akomea announced that STC and other state-owned public transport companies were working with a local electric vehicle company, Solar Taxi, to import 100 electric buses into the country for the purposes of public transportation.
Techfocus24 has therefore been speaking with the CEO of Solar Taxi, Jorge Appiah to find out what these new tax reliefs would mean for the industry.
According to him, the reliefs are in the right direction, because the will push adaption of electric vehicles up and also attractive a lot of green investment into the country.
Jorge Appiah said the reliefs represent a statement of commitment by the government to green economy and a signal that Ghana is open for green investments, which is good for the country, particularly because Accra was recently listed among the cities with the most polluted air.
He noted that the relatively higher prices of electric vehicles has always been an issue for Ghanaians. So, he believes the tax reliefs will translate into price reduction on electric vehicles so they could achieve price parity with fuel cars and thereby increase adaption of electric vehicles.
“It will particularly translate into a significant reduction in public transportation fares and that will in turn stabilize or reduce inflation in the short-term, as people get to pay less for transporting their wares to market centres,” he said.
Jorge Appiah also thinks the use of electric vehicle will drastically reduce air pollution in Ghana and make the air in the country, particularly the city centres even cleaner and healthier, with dividends for tourism to the country.
He expressed the hope that government will follow through with the promise in 2024 given the vast benefits those reliefs promises to deliver to the economy, the industry and to the greater majority of Ghanaians.
Meanwhile, the Minister announced several other tax reliefs, which he said were all in response to public outcry for taxes to be lowered.
He noted that government’s tax policy since 2017 was to give significant relief to the private sector until expenditure pressures from 2020 required a more aggressive approach. But now government is well on its way to improve the tax to GDP ratio from 13% to between 18 and 20%, so they believe the time and conditions are right to give some tax reliefs.
“I assure this August House, that we have heard the public’s cry for lower taxes for industry, and we are working at this aggressively with the GRA (Ghana Revenue Authority) and to be cemented with the standing committee of the Mutual Prosperity Dialogue,” he said.
He therefore announced a number of tax reliefs earmarked for 2024, in addition to the reliefs on EVs and locally assembled vehicles.
Find the list below:
- Zero rate of VAT on locally manufactured African prints for two (2) more years;
- Zero rate of VAT on locally produced sanitary pads
- Import duty waivers for raw materials for the local manufacture of sanitary pads;
Exemptions on the importation of agricultural machinery equipment and inputs and medical consumables, raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry;
A VAT flat rate of 5 percent to replace the 15 percent standard VAT rate on all commercial properties will be introduced to simplify administration.
To address the negative externalities of plastic waste and pollution, Government will review and expand the Environmental Excise Duty to cover plastic packaging, and industrial and vehicle emissions.
Ken Ofori-Atta also announced some tax reforms to be implemented in 2024, as follows:
The Stamp Duty Act, 2005 (Act 689) has not been reviewed since its enactment in 2005. To realign the rate with current economic realities, Government, in 2024, will review the rates and fees for stamp duties. The bands subject to ad valorem taxes will be expanded while the specific rates will be reviewed upwards.
A simplified tax return will be introduced as a means of promoting voluntary compliance as part of the modified taxation scheme for individuals in the informal sector. This approach will make it easier for taxpayers to fulfil their tax obligations to the State.