Ashanti Regional Minister moves to resolve impasse between GRA and protesting Kumasi traders

Ashanti Regional Minister and Chairman of the Security Council Simon Osei-Mensah

The Ashanti Regional Minister Simon Osei Mensah is expected to hold talks with the leadership of the Adum Business Owners Association and other stakeholders to resolve the current impasse between traders within the Central Business District and the Ghana Revenue Authority, GRA.

The leaders have ordered their members to shut down their shops in protest against the current Value Added Tax (VAT) policy being implemented by the government agency.

Sources familiar with this development say the Regional Minister has already engaged the GRA to get first-hand information on the issue. The sources further indicated that the minister’s intervention will avert a possible crisis.

What we know so far

The aggrieved traders in Kumasi have called on the government to adopt more sustainable and business-friendly tax policies that would help the government to optimise its revenue mobilization while promoting business growth. According to them, the current Value Added Tax (VAT) policy being implemented by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) “does not support our system.”

“The tax structure and its administration do not support the features of our market. The policy introduced taxation for each item as it travels along the distribution channel,” the Executive Secretary of the Ashanti Business Community, Charles Kusi Appiah-Kubi said at a media briefing in Kumasi today (October 12, 2022).

He said the current system where the tax was applied to every single item along the distribution line was making the cost of items more expensive and beyond the reach of customers.

Point of entries

Mr. Appiah-Kubi proposed that the government should collect all tax at the point of entry of the goods into the country and allow those in the value chain to operate free of intimidation and harassment.

He said the current practice where the same item was charged from the key distributor down to the last consumer, was overburdening the consumer and making goods more expensive.

He said the tax should be collected just once at the point of entry, either at the ports or at the factories, thereby allowing the businesses to operate freely.

“Government should take all its revenue from the points of entry. Take all the charges you want to charge at the point of entry or at the manufacturing and leave us alone,” he said.

“We are ready to pay our corporate income tax and our Pay As You Earn (PAYE), but we can’t pay the VAT again,” he said.

SOURCE: DAILY MAIL GH with additional files from News Agencies

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