GIPC's Economic Counsellors Dialogue 2018

18-05-2018

GIPC's Economic Counsellors Dialogue 2018

 

Last Thursday’s morning the Economic Counsellors Dialogue was held, organized by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) in the Alisa Hotel.

The programme consisted of a number of speakers such as Hon. Kwaku Kwarteng, deputy Finance Minister who explained that the Ghana government did not want to create extra taxation but would prioritise in providing incentives and offering of tax reliefs. He did stress that the government was not successful in monitoring the incentives to investors and that the government should lock in benefits such as the amount of investment, local content and employment. There are commitments of the governments (tax reliefs) as well as commitments for the investor (employment).

The 2nd speaker was Mr Yofi Grant , CEO of GIPC who presented on the marketing of Ghana as an investment destination.

The 3rd speaker was Mrs Jemima Oware, the Head of the Registrar General Department. She presented on the improved processes at the RGD’s office, which is now a one stop shop for SSNITT/AMA and obtaining your TIN number . She promoted the RGD’s new website which resulted in an improved registration time for companies ; you can now do online registration.

The 4th speaker was Mr Francis Ashinya, Asst. Commissioner of the Large Tax Payers Office of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). He explained that the GRA’s main approach will rely on the self-assessment by companies concerning all tax types. If you make a wrong assessment , you will attract penalties. He also mentioned that there will be an exemption of tax for 5 years for young entrepreneurs.

The final speaker was Emmanuel Asiedu , Tax partner with KPMG, he put forward some issues such as conflicts between GIPC and GRA whereby GRA refuses an incentive to a company which was granted by the GIPC. In general he would like to see more cooperation between GRA and GIPC also concerning immigration quota granted to companies.

 

After the speakers there was room for questions; the questions and remarks concentrated on the fact that companies prefer transparency,  measurements against corruption, a predictable government and no local content rules instead of tax reliefs. There seem to be a lack of coordination between the different Ministries and some of the measures announced by the Government are not in line with its own policies such as the awarding of the third single window contract to Ghana Link Network (next to GC Net and West Blue Consulting). Also the paperless port is still not functioning as it should.

Other remarks focused on the fact that the government should at least announce that local content rules will not be implemented retroactively ; otherwise a lot of foreign investors have to pack their bags. In answering on these concerns GIPC guaranteed that concerning local content there will be no expropriation (stipulated in the Ghana laws). The reason for local content was empowering Ghanaians to compete with foreign companies.

Another question from the audience was on customs clearance; still there were issues with the renewal of licenses for foreign companies indicating that some local content rules are implemented retroactively . This all has resulted in a decrease of confidence with the foreign investment community. On the local content rules in the Energy sector for instance it was remarked that stipulated deadlines had already past when these measures were announced in the Ghanaian Times , also these new rules were  for the most part unnoticed by foreign investors in the  Energy sector plus there was no prior stakeholder consultation . The GIPC act will be changed but no new draft has been made available for stakeholder input.

There was a call up from the audience to engage foreign companies in stakeholder meetings on for instance the suggested amendments ; this will increase the confidence level. GIPC answered that they are working with the EU and WTO (World Trade Organisation) concerning the new GIPC act.

If there are any issues please report this to the GIPC !

For comments, please e-mail to tjalling@gnbcc.net

 

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