July 5, 2013

The Minority in Parliament is urging government to re-consider its decision to impose a 1% levy on fertilizers, energy saving bulbs, outboard motors and generators.

The government is also seeking to impose a 20% import duty on telephone handset and additional 5% stabilisation levy on the profit before tax of selected companies and institutions.

Parliament is currently deliberating on the bills under the certificate of urgency.

But presenting a report to the House, Deputy Chairman of the Finance Committee, Gabriel Essilfie, said although the Committee acknowledges government’s quest to raise revenues, it believes the proposed levy will increase the cost of fertilizers and ultimately lead to increased food cost.

“The levy further has the potential to impoverish the many subsistence crop farmers, most of whom are below the poverty line. The Committee, accordingly, proposes the deletion of the 1% levy on fertilizers”, he said.

Also, a member of the Minority and a ranking member on the Finance Committee, Dr. Anthony Osei-Akoto, wondered whether the government thought through the proposed amendments very well.

According to him, items covered under the Special Import Levy Bill were given zero tax ratings for a specific reason and did not think because government is looking for money it should attempt imposing a 1% tax on fertilizers.

He was unhappy with the proposal to tax energy saving bulbs and outboard motors. According to him, it is likely the ministries of Energy and Petroleum or Food and Agriculture were not consulted before the proposal was drawn.