Feature Article of Mon, 19 Jun 20174

Are Ghanaians hostile to levies?

The reaction from the Ghanaian public to the towing levy does not come as a surprise at all. Does it? I guess not.

The poor appetite being exhibited by Ghanaians towards the payment of taxes/levies did not begin overnight, it obviously started from somewhere.

It could be traced to one thing poor/misapplication of previous State funds by successive governments and other State institutions over the years.

The idea behind the towing levy itself does not make sense to me and a lot more Ghanaians, and could warrant the kind of rebellious feedback from the general public.

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They also know about how some toll collectors at tollbooths do get rich overnight, while portions of roads at this very tollbooths are hit with potholes and manholes.

If only our leaders had previously applied our taxes appropriately and to the benefit of the taxpayer, the debate on the towing levy would have probably been different.

When the debate on the ban on plastics came up in 2015, producers and importers of plastic products alluded to the fact that there is an extra tax component paid to government by plastic importers and producers, for plastic waste management in Ghana.

How much has been realized from the said special levy imposed on the importation and manufacturing of plastics over the years? How is such fund being applied, with respect to waste management by successive governments? And what is the state of plastic related filth in Ghana today?

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All that we are saying is that there are a lot of legitimate questions begging for answers, as to how funds from similar levies were applied by governments and State institutions in the past. Providing answers to these questions will give our tax collectors that impetus and the clean hands to come seeking for new levies backed by justifications.

Pre-levying every vehicle owner/user for towing services is obviously not a good idea. Parliament and the President must reconsider this decision.

Ghanaians are not necessarily hostile to levies, but they just don’t have the appetite for new levies owing to the fact that proceeds from existing levies are being misapplied and embezzled with so much impunity.

The intention behind the policy may be good, but the policy direction is unarguably wrong.

Charge me for towing my car; don’t charge everyone to tow cars.

Columnist: Gbolu Samson

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