The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has outlined a number of policy decisions, including the scrapping of all import duties on raw materials, if Ghanaians vote in their favour on November 7. Speaking at a fundraising event being organized by some chapters of the NPP USA branch in Houston, the Vice Presidential Candidate of the party, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, said the NPP intends to transform Ghana into what he calls one of the most business friendly economies in Africa. “We have focused a lot on revenue generation at the expense of production. The focus of government after government has been on taxation and very little on the incentives for production and if you get into that you are really creating an engine for unemployment and I am not surprised that the unemployment issue is not tackled because we have focused a lot on taxation. “What we want to do in Ghana is to create the most business friendly and the most people friendly economy in Africa, that is the goal. Once you set that goal, you know what your competitors are up to,” the economist argued. Bawumia explained that abolishing all import duties on raw materials will promote local production and generate more revenue. “You are trying to give the local production an incentive and this is the situation where you are trying to get local production of fufu powder and you have over taxed them and they have left . Our philosophy is going to be quite different. We are going to have to give the incentives to promote local production so under the NPP by the grace of God in our first budget, our philosophy is that, allow the local production to take place, allow them to employ people. Get income taxes from there then when they make profit, you will get corporate taxes. But if you try to impose these huge import duties , they will not produce at all, we will lose the import duty, we will lose the income taxes, you will lose the corporate taxes …so we are going to abolish all import duties on raw materials into local products and it makes economic sense. We are not worried that we are going to lose revenue. In fact, our estimates suggest that we will encourage more local production and by so doing, we will get more taxes.” Some manufacturers in recent times, have expressed frustrations at the collapse of their businesses as result of high import duties. Last year, the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana called for broader consultation on issues affecting the industry including the Import Adjustment Tax (IAT) on Crude Palm Oil. The Akosombo Textiles Limited is also struggling to stay in business because smugglers who do not pay import duties have crowded the market with fake goods He further revealed that the removal of import duties on raw materials will also be extended to manufacturing equipment. “We need technology to produce .If you try to tax the manufacturing equipment that comes in to help business to produce, we will put them at a disadvantage because they are competing with other countries and so the removal of the import duties on raw materials is also going to be extended to manufacturing equipment Deploy national ID cards According to Bawumia, the party also intends to issue national ID cards to eligible citizens in the first year of their administration when they are voted into power. “We have been going for eight years now without being able to have a national ID card for example, having passed the National Identification Act in 2008, we have still not been able to issue a national ID card even though we all know why it is very important because even your tax base is very compromised if you are not able to issue the national ID cards.I think that in the very first year, we plan to issue ID cards without any hesitation.
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