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The Ghana National Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) says they want to sign a social contract with Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and all other flagbearers who are making promises to remove taxes.

The Public Relations Officer for GUTA, Joseph Padi indicated that politicians are fond of promising one thing, and when they win power turn to do otherwise hence, their decision to sign the pact.

Dr Bawumia had stated categorically that he would abolish the tax on electronic financial transactions, e-levy, if elected President of Ghana. The controversial tax was introduced in 2022, and prior to the introduction, Vice President Bawumia had declared his opposition to levies on electronic financial transactions in an interview.

Delivering his first major address to the nation after his election as NPP flagbearer, during which he gave broad policy outlines of a Bawumia Presidency, Dr. Bawumia minced no words in declaring his opposition to taxes on electronic financial transactions, declaring that he would abolish e-levy as President.

Dr Bawumia added that his bid for a Digital and Cashless Ghana would be significantly boosted if e-levy is abolished.

Full Text: Speech by Dr Mahamudu Bawumia at UPSA auditorium

“To move towards a cashless economy, however, we have to encourage the population to use electronic channels payment. To accomplish this, there will be no taxes on digital payments under my administration. The e-levy will therefore, be abolished,” he declared at the UPSA auditorium on February 7.

Dr. Bawumia also announced that as part of a new tax regime by his government, he will also abolish the emission tax, tax on betting as well as the proposed 15% VAT on electricity tariffs, if it is in existence by January 2025.

He also announced that his government would introduce what he described as a friendly, flat tax regime for Ghana, which will boost individuals and businesses, particularly small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs).

“My administration will introduce a very simple, citizen and business-friendly flat tax regime. A flat tax of a percentage of income for individuals and SMEs, which constitute 98% of all businesses in Ghana, with appropriate exemption thresholds set to protect the poor,” Dr. Bawumia indicated.

Asked whether he was impressed by this address while speaking on the Business Focus on TV3 Monday February 12, Mr Padi said “Why not. Per where we have been coming from, this is something we have been calling for all this while, we have been complaining about the cost of doing business, that it is too high compared to our neighboring countries.

When you go to our ports right now, we are losing business from Togo, Benin, and Nigeria because you go and clear a container worth about $20,000 and you are paying $10,000 as a form of duty. So, we have been complaining about this for years, and so if now the vice president has come out to say he is going to scrap all these it is good.. But the challenge here is that those that can be done now should be done now, because businesses are suffocating.. for example, we are talking about Covid-19 levy, what stops them from taking it off now?”

He added “we want a social contract with these politicians, enough of the promises, they promise but when they come to power, we don’t see those promises being fulfilled. So, this time we say we are going to sign a social contract with you and whatever you promise we are going to hold you accountable. There is a huge credibility gap when it comes to politicians.”

By Laud Nartey