Parliament has approved tax waivers and duties amounting to GH¢41.48million for four state institutions.
The institutions include Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMT), the Ministry of Regional Reorganisation and Development (MRRD), the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the State Transport Company.
The exemptions will allow the MMT to enjoy tax rebates of GH¢14.78 million to procure vehicles for its operations, while the MRRD will have a GH¢708,652 tax holiday on vehicles it intends to buy.
The approval would also pave the way for the GIS to have tax rebates amounting to GH¢841,645 on ammunition donated to it, with the Inter-city STC Company Limited receiving a tax break of GH¢25.14 million to enable it to acquire a fleet of vehicles.
Deputy Minister of Finance, Mrs Abena Osei Asare, presented the requests to the House, on behalf of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
The Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, moved the request for the waivers and the Ranking Member on the committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, seconded it.
Tabling the report before Parliament, Dr Assibey-Yeboah said many people relied on the services of the MMT as the only affordable means of commuting from one place to another.
Unfortunately, he said, “about 70% of its buses had broken down, causing the company to suspend most of its operations.”
The situation, he said, “has resulted in difficulties for many commuters who rely on MMT services.”
To address those difficulties, Dr Assibey-Yeboah mentioned that the government had purchased 100 buses, which were currently at the port awaiting clearance.
“The government has also procured an additional 50 buses for the company. These buses have arrived at the Tema Port and the request is to enable the MMT to clear the buses and add them to its fleet,” he said.
He added that with the passage of the Ghana Immigration Service Act, 2016 (Act 908), the function of the GIS had now expanded to include manning and protecting the nation’s borders.
He said the country’s borders were now opened 24 hours, in conformity with the ECOWAS protocol aimed at facilitating the free movement of goods and persons.
He was quick to add that the Finance Committee’s attention had also been drawn to the precarious security situation within the sub-region, with the outbreak of the coronavirus. The situation, he noted, required that the government adequately armed security personnel to protect Ghana’s borders.
The waivers include import duties, import Value Added Tax (VAT), the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) levy, the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL), the ECOWAS levy, the Ghana Export-Import (EXIM) Bank levy, special import and African Union (AU) levies and other taxes totaling GH¢41.48 million for the four beneficiary institutions.