The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has urged the government to discuss with industry players to help implement progressive and fair tax regimes that encourage growth and investment.
The Association said the burden of high taxes fell disproportionately on businesses in certain sectors, leading to an imbalance in the economy.
Mr Kwasi Nyamekye, AGI Chairman for Ashanti, Bono and Bono-East Regions, cited that the manufacturing and agricultural sectors, which had the potential to drive economic growth and reduce dependence on imports were heavily burdened with high taxes.
This has created a disincentive for investment and hindered the development of these sectors, preventing Ghana from realizing its full potential.
He was addressing members of the Association at the first General Meeting of the year, in Kumasi.
The meeting was on the theme: “IMF Conditionality’s – Effects on Industries”.
The Chairman indicated that the portion of the conditionality, which sought to raise internal funds had brought an increased tax burden on industry, especially the removal of incentives on the importation of raw materials.
“As an advocacy organization and a strong stakeholder in the growth of Ghana businesses, we strongly believe that the current tax burden has reached an unsustainable level, hindering the growth and development of enterprises in Ghana.
If we do not take steps to address it now, taxes could cause a collapse of our businesses or completely render us less competitive on the continent as we try to trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).”
According to Mr Nyamekye, the Association was also pleading with the government to reduce the overall import charges on the importation of raw materials for manufacturing as well as to simplify the tax system and provide clearer guidelines to ensure transparency and ease of compliance for businesses, especially small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs).
Again, the AGI was encouraging sector-specific tax incentives to promote investment and growth in key industries, such as manufacturing, agriculture, and technology.
He noted that there must be a fair and non-discriminately Value Added Tax (VAT) regime
The AGI further urged the government to do regular consultations, engage with business owners and industry associations to gain a better understanding of their challenges and incorporate their feedback in tax policy decisions.
The meeting, among other issues, was used to seek some explanations from officials of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on tax challenges, especially the recent ones, and to proffer some suggestions and possible ways to make tax payments in the country less burdensome to industry.