THE OPPOSITION New Patriotic Party (NPP) has taken on the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) for giving an amount of $43 million to Huawei Technologies of China in a tax waiver, insisting it was a dissipation of the country?s revenue.

Government yesterday secured a parliamentary waiver of custom duties, VAT, EDIF (Export Development & Investment Fund) and ECOWAS levies; destination inspection fees, withholding taxes and other charges amounting to $43,041,816. 50 on goods and services to the Chinese firm, which is executing an E-government platform project in the country with a loan facility of $150 million.

The Chinese company is executing the ICT expansion project with a Ghana Government loan of $127, 5000,000 from Export Import Bank (Exim Bank) of China and down payment of $22,500,000 by the Government of Ghana (GOG), totaling $150 million.

However, before the tax waiver was approved, the Minority NPP wondered why the NDC administration took a loan of $127 million from a Chinese bank and turned around to give a Chinese company an amount of $43 million as a tax waiver, which was more than one-third or about 33 percent of the credit facility.

MP for Aburi/Nsawam Osei Bonsu Amoah, popularly known as O.B. Amoah, said such waivers to well-endowed foreign companies would kill local businesses.

?These foreign companies are already well-endowed and you say they should not pay corporate taxes and yet struggling local companies are asked to pay corporate taxes and compete with their foreign counterparts,? he bemoaned.

The NDC administration, O. B. Amoah pointed out, had not kept its commitment to cut losses and make savings for the country?s development agenda including financing free Senior High School (SHS) education.

Quoting from the 2009 state-of-the-nation address by late President Atta Mills, the Aburi/Nsawam MP stated that the NDC promised it was ?working on a number of measures?.aimed at achieving macro-economic stability? including ?reducing state protocol budget drastically, reducing official foreign travel budget drastically, reducing official seminars and workshops budget drastically, monitoring of targets and dividends of state-owned companies and enterprises, reviewing the exemptions regime, increasing efficiency in revenue collection and negotiating the single spine wages and salaries regime.?

Later in interview with DAILY GUIDE, O. B. Amoah lamented that the NDC administration had not been able to review tax exemption regimes as it was continuously waiving taxes to foreign companies at the expense of Ghanaian taxpayers.

Such huge sums of tax revenue waived, he insisted, could have been saved and used to finance programmes such as the Free SHS, which the NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo had promised.

O. B. Amoah, who is also a former deputy Minister for Education, Science and Sports, could not fathom why the governing NDC was ?dashing? the Chinese company $43 million at the time the ruling party was insisting the state could not finance free SHS education for poor Ghanaians.

Buttressing the point, Minority Spokesperson on Finance Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei urged Parliament to review the practice of waiving taxes in the country.

According to Dr. Akoto Osei, who is also the MP for Old Tafo, he was not happy that the House had waived taxes running into hundreds of millions of dollars, which was not in the interest of the country.

MP for Effia Kwesimintim Joe Baidoe-Ansah said more foreign companies would be insisting on huge tax waivers before they did business in Ghana, which was not in the interest of the country.

A report of the Finance Committee of Parliament had observed that the E-Government Platform Project being undertaking by the Ministry of Communications would provide the platform for such electronic applications as e-health, e-cabinet and e-tourism among others.

The scope of the project, the report pointed out, included the expansion of the current E-Government network based on deployment of fiber capillarity, Microwave and WiMax coverage to other districts.

It will cover 46 additional cities and towns, further reaching about 1,600 government departments/institutions throughout the country such as hospitals, universities, training college, revenue collection institutions and police stations.

By Awudu Mahama

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