16th July 2024

Alexander Afenyo-Markin, Majority Leader

The Majority caucus in Parliament says the Minority counterpart is sabotaging Ghana’s economic growth through its persistent opposition to some tax waivers currently under consideration by the House.

There are up to $400 million worth of tax waiver requests that have been pending at the Finance Committee for over three years, entangled in a political stalemate.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has vowed to block these requests at every turn.

Speaking to journalists in Parliament yesterday, the Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, said the NDC was being hypocritical.

“The Minority leader, Dr Ato Forson, is leading that charge on behalf of the Minority NDC in Parliament, and their main aim is to obstruct government business, and to deny the people of Ghana the needed economic growth, which will result from businesses investing in the country and expanding their businesses,” he said.

NDC hypocrisy

Mr Afenyo-Markin stated that the Mahama-led administration  offered a tax waiver of $982 million to Meridian Port Services(MPS), which was later reduced to $832 million, due to the intervention of the then Minority NPP members on the Finance Committee.

“The most outrageous tax giveaway ever seen in Ghana was handed to Meridian Port Services in 2016 by the Mahama-led administration.

“At the time, the NDC government applied to Parliament for a tax waiver of $982m for a project that they claimed cost $1.5b. It took the intervention of the Minority NPP members of the Finance Committee, of which I was a member at the time, to lower the waiver amount to $832m. Even though that was still unacceptable, the NDC Majority, goaded on by the Terkper-Ato Forson-Mona Quartey Ministry of Finance, railroaded the request through Parliament,” he stated.

He noted that the company was exempted from corporate income tax for 10 years, and then received a reduced corporate tax rate of 15% for an additional five years. The company was also excluded from paying taxes on dividends to shareholders for 20 years.

He stated that MPS is still enjoying all these freebies.

“The concession also covered Value Added Taxes, NHIL, customs duties, and withholding taxes, amongst others. This foreign company is still enjoying all these freebies as we turn a blind eye to Ghanaian businesses,” he added.

Argument

The Majority Leader argued that indigenous businesses should receive similar benefits, calling on the government to take action. He emphasised that the current terms are not generous, and urged Parliament to address the issue.

“So, if we did it for a foreign entity, why don’t we extend the same to indigenous businesses who are not benefitting as much as MPS? These present terms are not generous. Parliament should do the needful,” he added.

He said these tax waivers are a crucial tool for stimulating economic growth.

“Government made a promise to the private sector, and investors have come into the country to invest in critical areas. These tax waivers are a crucial tool for stimulating economic growth.
This is particularly important in highly competitive global markets where investors have multiple options. For instance, in the case of MPS, the tax waiver was instrumental in ensuring that the investment was made in Ghana rather than in neighbouring countries like Ivory Coast,” he stated.

In 2021, the Ministry of Finance began processes to secure approximately $335,072,712.13 in tax exemptions for some 42 companies under the government’s One District One Factory initiative.

Among the companies, the newly established Sentuo Oil Refinery Limited, has the highest figure of $164,633,012.00.

 

 

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