COVID-19: Ghana’s Parliament signs off GhC288m tax waiver for health workers


Ghana’s Parliament has signed off on a ¢288.6 million tax waiver for health care workers to motivate them as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tax waiver is on personal emoluments of all health care workers for the months of April, May and June 2020, and on additional allowances for front line health personnel covering March, April, May and June 2020.

President Akufo-Addo had announced the tax waivers for health care personnel last month in one of his Covid-19 addresses to the nation.

He also announced front line health workers will get a tax-free payment of 50% of their basic salary as an additional allowance.

The tax waiver on personal emoluments will cost the nation ¢237.5 million whilst the tax waiver on additional allowances will amount to ¢51 million, reported.

A report of the Finance Committee of Parliament said the House expects the waiver to encourage health workers and other frontline personnel to continue to make sacrifices in caring for those infected with the virus.

The committee’s report said the Health Ministry has received the list of private health care workers across the country for vetting and inclusion in the tax waiver scheme.

Income tax amendment bill 2020

The House has also approved amendment to the income tax amendment bill 2020 to waive taxes on withdrawals from the third-tier provident funds and personal pension schemes.  

Originally, withdrawals from these funding sources before retirement are subject to 15% income tax if withdrawn before 10 years by contributors in the formal sector and before five years in case of contributors in the informal sector.

In order to provide some relief to employees who have lost their jobs permanently or whose businesses have collapse due to the COVID-19 pandemic, government has decided to exempt such withdrawals from tax deduction.

In order to qualify for the tax waiver, one has to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority and Labour Commission that his or her unemployment status was as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minority Spokesperson on Finance Ato Forson called for amendment to the law establishing the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) so employers can withdraw money from it to cushion themselves in light of Covid-19, even before their retirement.

Tax waiver on COVID-19 donations

The House has also approved tax waivers on the cost of donation of stocks of equipment and goods as relief supplies for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. This means such donations will not attract 15% value added tax (VAT), 2.5% National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) and 2.5% GETFund levy. 

Parliament expressed hope that the incentive will encourage well-meaning Ghanaians, corporate bodies, institutions and individuals to generously donate equipment towards the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The sitting came off on May 1, despite the day being a holiday. Parliament has since adjourned sitting indefinitely, according to media reports.

Source: Daily Mail Gh with additional files from Myjoyonline

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