KPMG 2020 Budget Forum

22-11-2019

KPMG 2020 Budget Forum

Last Monday evening, the KPMG Budget Forum was held at the Marriott Hotel in Airport City Accra. The Special guest of honour and keynote speaker was Hon. Ken Ofori Atta, Ghana’s Finance Minister. Mr Ofori Atta spoke about the government’s Budget which he presented last week in Parliament. He remained for the start of the panel discussion portion of the Forum The panel consisted of Mr. Kofi Frempong – Kore, tax partner KPMG, Mr. Abdallah Ali Nakyea, Tax Consultant of Ali-Nakyea and Associates, Dr. John Kwakye, Economist & Member of Monetary Policy Committee and Mr. Humphrey Ayim-Darke, Vice President of AGI.

In general, the panel was supportive of government’s budget ; there were no questions concerning the rather high GDP growth rate of 6,8% (compared to the figures of IMF and World bank) in combination with government’s high revenue expectations (they have not met their own budget estimates these past 3 years) and the consequences for the limitation of deficit below 5%  in an election year (which has seen increased pressure on spending) . Dr. John Kwakye, who is also involved with the Institute of Economic Affairs, wanted more taxation on the successful income-generating sectors of Ghana’s economy such as mining, oil, and telecom. He did not believe in widening the tax base by involving the rather large informal economy with the argument that it was just small monies. He also called upon the government and parliament to speed up the new laws which limits tax exemptions – too much income is lost due to tax exemption. He did not comment on the fact that a lot of (international) companies are stimulated to invest in Ghana by those same tax exemptions. Ghana has even a Free zone Act which is based on attracting Foreign Direct Investment by offering a free zone status meaning no company income tax for 10 years. A more critical note was taken by Mr. Abdallah Ali-Nakyea who told the audience that the government should stop with the withholding tax on the VAT ; this was a lazy taxation by the government, lazy because the taxpayer has to act as tax collector on behalf of the government ; he also confirmed that  there are too many tax audits  from within the Ghana Revenue Authority such as tax audit of Customs, tax audit of GRA, tax audit of VAT all on the same years which was overburdening and stressing the companies. The audience could feed the panel with remarks and questions through an online app but there was also an opportunity for questions from the audience in the old fashioned way through the microphone. The evening ended with an opportunity to matchmaking and interacting with the audience among each other. As a thank, you for attending, the audience received a booklet containing the 2020 Budget Highlights.

 

Kindly send any reactions to Tjalling Wiarda at tjalling@gnbcc.net  

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