Parliament is to consider four double Tax Agreements involving the Government of Ghana and its international partners, Mauritius, the Check Republic, Singapore and Morocco aimed at boosting trade and investments among the countries
The four Agreements were laid before the House yesterday is also expected to foster mutual economic benefit between the countries.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mike Aaron Oquaye in welcoming Members asked them to be refreshed and energized to work at full speed throughout the entire session.
He praised members for continuing the work in their various constituencies and also the other engagements by Honorable Members of the House during recess. He hoped that the bar of debates in the House would be lifted higher while issues that do not matter and unpalatable issues avoided.
As the House represents its people, and also as an organ of the state, he hoped that Members are mindful of their call to duty and execute them with all the passion needed.
He bemoaned the continuing activities of galamsay in the country and asked that as a country we bring finality to it.
However, the Minority, led by its Spokesperson on Finance, and the Ranking Member of the House on Finance, Hon. Ato Forson raised concerns about the number of Double Tax Agreements (DTAs), saying four DTAs are too much, and wondered why the rush to pass those agreements.
He asserted that, Double Tax Agreements are for mutual benefits to both countries and case he did not see how Ghana stands to benefit from the current Agreement before it.
Double taxation is a taxation principle referring to income taxes paid twice on the same source of earned income. It can occur when income is taxed at both the corporate level and personal level. Double taxation also occurs in international trade when the same income is taxed in two different countries.
In a media interaction after the brief Parliamentary session, Ato Forson further questioned the quantum of the investments of those four countries in Ghana to warrant these concessions from Ghana, and also what quantum of investment Ghana has in those countries that would enable Ghana benefit from the Agreements. According to him, Ghana is not going to benefit from the Agreements.
He indicated that countries such as Singapore and Mauritius are Tax Havens for certain off-shore entities, so people go there and come back and invest in Ghana and try to get concessions that would maximize their interests.
He asked the government to come clean, estimate the fiscal costs to the country and give evidence to the fact that Ghanaian businesses are also going to benefit from the Agreement, and further expressed concern about the rush in giving them those concessions.
Meanwhile Parliament would vet the Deputy Special Prosecutor nominee today May 16, 2018. Additionally, the Commission of Enquiry on the creation of the new Regions would brief Parliament on their findings and matters arising on Friday May 18th 2018.
By: Frederick E. Aggrey