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Tax Waivers Shot Down …Afenyo-Markin In Pains For Investors

Alexander Afenyo-Markin, Majority Leader in Parliament has expressed misgivings in very strong terms over the inability of the House to agree on the tax exemption for some 42 selected companies under the 1D1F programme when it was forced to resume sitting last Friday.

The requested tax exemption was one of the three reasons for which the Minority forced a recall of the House by invoking Article 112(3) of the Constitution on the Speaker, Alban Bagbin.

The Finance Committee which was to have presented a motion on which of the 42 companies had passed the scrutiny test and duly deserved the exemption had apparently not completed its work on the said motion when the matter was raised on the Floor therefore it was shot down.

After the Speaker had asked the Committee to go back and do the right thing before the motion is properly laid before the House, an obviously frustrated Afenyo-Markin sprang to his feet:

“Mr. Speaker I am speaking with a lot of pain I don’t want to get into certain areas. But since 20th of March I have been urging on them [the Finance Committee] to meet and then you now say you could not form a quorum and all that. Let’s suspend sitting to go and deal with the non contentious ones and come back.

“Mr. Speaker what we are doing is wrong; all these years, what have we done and we say they should be given more time. There is nothing fishy except that we cannot mislead investors to come into our country only to frustrate hem. We cannot and we should not encourage that as a House.

“Mr. Speaker, people invest their capital, we encourage investors to come into the country, and they set up factories only for us to frustrate them. Why? Mr. Speaker why? Our people are not being employed because factories have not been completed. The way we are dealing with this matter is unfair”, Afenyo-Markin noted.

The Majority Leader, still on his feet, disagreed with the notion that tax exemptions are not in the interest of the State.

He argued: “When you give incentives, you are aiding production. I am not an economist but that is trite economics. You are giving tax incentives to aide production. When the business man has enough, he is able to invest back into the business and that is the practice.

“I would encourage then that the non-contentional ones that they say they have, they should make them available and deal with it. This is becoming too much Mr. Speaker, give them a deadline. They had all this opportunity”.

The Speaker said he expected that the Committee would have presented what was agreed on: “we discussed this matter thoroughly this morning at conclave and we arrived at the understanding that he Majority Leader and the Minority Leader would lead in identifying those items that do not have much challenges and that would be referred to the Committee to consider and report back to this House so that we would take that one through.

“We do not have any report from the Committee so we cannot proceed without a report. That was the agreement in the morning so I do not understand why we are going on a different tangent,

“We were told that a negotiation that was not conclusive was looking at between 10 and 15 companies that I am told do not have much challenges or they say are safe and can be handled but it is the Committee that would take a final decision and report to the House. “

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