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The Majority caucus in Parliament is accusing the Minority and its leader of deliberately sabotaging Ghana’s economic growth through their persistent opposition to some tax waivers currently under consideration by the House.

Majority leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin blamed the Minority Leader, Dr Ato Forson for the stalemate.

“The Minority Leader, Dr Ato Forson is leading that charge on behalf of the Minority 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. “

In 2021, the Ministry of Finance began processes to secure approximately $335,072,712.13 in tax exemptions for some 42 companies under the One District One Factory initiative, but has not been successful.

The Minority, which is against the waivers, has remained resolute in its opposition to the waivers in Parliament with the justification that granting the $335 million tax waivers to the 42 companies amounts to giving away free money despite the current economic challenges facing the country.

Addressing a press conference in Parliament House on Thursday May 30, 2024 on the issue, Majority Leader, Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin criticised the Minority describing its action as an act of double standards since the same NDC while in government, granted tax waivers to several firms to the tune of millions of dollars.

Mr Afenyo-Markin accused his counterpart, Dr Ato Forson of leading the charge to obstruct government’s business to deny citizens of economic growth.

He indicated that the NDC government granted tax exemption to Meridian Port Services (MPS) alone to the tune of an amount exceeding the total value being sought by the NPP government for all the 42 firms under the IDIF policy.

According to the Majority Leader, the erstwhile NDC regime under President John Dramani Mahama granted $832 million value of tax waiver to MPS even though the company was expected to invest just $1.5 billion into the local economy.

This amount, $832 million, granted to just one foreign firm, he said, exceeds the total amount of $353 million being requested for the 42 firms combined.

“But we know that in 2016, this country experienced the most outrageous tax giveaway we’ve ever seen in Ghana when the NDC led by President John Mahama handed a tax waiver of $832 million to Meridian Port Services. At the time, the NDC government applied for a tax waiver of $982 million for the port project,” he said.

“And through the vigilance of the Minority then, we shut it down up to $832 million, saved the government and the people of Ghana some $100 million, and even requested that further works be done,” Mr Afenyo-Markin stated.

Mr Afenyo-Markin said MPS was exempted from paying Corporate income tax and dividends to shareholders for a period of ten years.

He chastised the NDC government of engaging in worse dealings during their term of office but have turned around to obstruct the current NPP administration by its opposition to the tax waiver requests.

The Effutu Lawmaker wondered why local firms would be denied.

He quoted his colleague the current Minority Leader Dr Casiel Atro Forson who was then Deputy Finance Minister justifying the need for Parliament to grant waiver to MPs, so that the company does not relocate to another country and wondered what has changed today to warrant the opposition.

The Majority leader also claimed that the NDC administration through the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) designated some companies as strategic investments and without recourse to Parliament, granted tax waivers to the companies to do business.

He listed the companies as Dzata cement, Dream Reality, Boston Investment among others.

By Komla Klutse