Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has named the 2017 budget statement he presented to parliament on Thursday 2 March an “Asempa” (Good news) budget that gives Ghanaian bright future prospects.
During the reading of the statement, Mr Ofori-Atta mentioned, among other things, the scrapping of excise duty on petroleum products. The government also intends to reduce the special petroleum tax rate on petrol from 17.5% to 15%.
Other taxes that will be completely abolished include the following:
1. The 1% special import levy
2. The 17.5% VAT on financial services
3. The 17.5% VAT on selected imported medicines not produced locally
4. The 17.5% VAT on domestic airline tickets
5. The 5% VAT on real estate sales
6. Duty on importation of spare parts
Also, the 17.5% VAT imposed on traders has been replaced with a 3% flat rate, while businesses that employ young graduates from tertiary institutions will get tax credits and other incentives. Furthermore, there will be tax incentives for young entrepreneurs while the Corporate Income Tax will be progressively reduced from 25% to 20% in 2018.
Additionally, Mr Ofori-Atta said the Akufo-Addo government would initiate steps to remove import duties on raw materials and machinery for production.
Ending his presentation, he said: “Mr Speaker, we are in a crucial point in our history and this is a nation that the Lord has blessed. God indeed bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong. Mr Speaker, I beg at this juncture to move the Asempa budget.”
Meanwhile, the Minority in parliament has also described the maiden financial statement of the Akufo-Addo-led government as a “419 budget”.
This, they did, by showing placards with the inscription “419 budget” when Mr Ofori-Atta announced the scrapping of a number of “nuisance taxes”.