The Ghana Federation of Labour, GFL, has petitioned the Speaker of Parliament and appealed for a stay of passage of the Excise Duty Amendment Bill 2022, pending exhaustive consultation with stakeholders.
According to the GFL, its attention has been drawn to a new Tax Bill in the offing seeking to introduce a 20% Excise Tax on locally produced fruit drinks and bottled water.
A statement jointly signed by the President of the GFL, Caleb Nartey and the Secretary-General, Abraham Koomson, said the draft which has been seen by some members of the Federation shows that the framers seek to amend Excise Duty Act 2014, ACT 878 to revise the Excise Tax rates for a number of products including all sweetened drinks and processed fruit juices which hitherto did not attract Excise duty. We bring more in the news desk report.
Members of the Ghana Federation of Labour, GFL, find the introduction of the new tax regime inimical to the growth of the economy as it will further undermine job creation and deny the State of required revenue; emphasizing that it will further hype operational costs of local manufacturing businesses.
In the jointly signed statement, the GFL noted that the survival of the locally produced fruit drinks and bottled water is already threatened by the increased cost of production and dwindling purchasing power of consumers; explaining that just last week, the Bank of Ghana in its determination to fight inflation which stands at 54-point-one per cent as of December 2022 increased its policy rate to 28 per cent which will obviously lead to a higher cost of borrowing.
It again mentioned that Value Added Tax has gone up by two-point-five per cent aside the Bank of Ghana recent policy; thereby suffocating manufacturing companies in the Country.
According to the GFL, while Organized Labour expects well-crafted policies to protect local industries, the government has rather slapped an astronomical increment of 30% in Electricity and 50% on water for industry which took effect from February 1, 2023, coupled with fuel prices which remain high with no clear signs of a downward trend as the cedi continues to depreciate against the dollar.
The GFL says there is every reason to appreciate the government’s determination to raise revenue to meet its statutory obligations, however, at this stage of the economic crisis facing the country with the uncertainty about investments in bonds ahead of an agreement on the Domestic Debt Exchange Program, the introduction of such tax will not be healthy for the Manufacturing Industries.
The GFL emphasized that they cannot sit on the fence and watch their members reel under the ever mounting taxations on local manufacturing industries as companies have drastically reduced staff and they cannot wait for many more fold-ups. It appealed for further engagements for a level playing ground for all.