Business News of 2014-07-04

Training on VAT for financial services held

The first ever training and educational programme on the new Value Added Tax (VAT) Act (870), since its implementation in January 6, has been held for Ghana Association of Saving and Loans Companies (GHASALC).

The day’s training programme which came off on Thursday in Accra aimed at educating, equipping and sensitising members of GHASALC with the needed knowledge on the legislation and implementation process of the VAT in their everyday activities as financial institutions.

It also aimed at ultimately giving GHASALC members the opportunity of presenting their clients concerns on the VAT legislation, implementation and the way forward.

Organised by GHASALC and brought together all members from regions, Mr Theodore Kwaku Albright, Vice President of GHASALC said the move was timely as it presented an opportunity for needed opinions and concerns to be expressed.

“It is a privilege for having this forum because it will make room for our concerns, ideas and other protest to be aired as we have been neglected for far too long without any consultations before parliament approving this new VAT,” he said.

“There was zero consultation with members of the financial services on the implementation of the VAT on the provision of our services so we were found wanting as to how to educate our clients adequately without losing them hence the urgent need for this training,” he said.

Mr Albright noted that 70 per cent of the public are not having access to financial service and implementing the Act is hardly going to encourage them to take up on the provision of the service.

“We recognise government’s authority to levy the tax as just as we also recognise the tax taken are used to for the benefit of all Ghanaians and the absence will not take the country forward but we call for a holistic approach so that where their responsibilities are they will benefit and vice versa.”

Ms Eunice Brako Marfo, Executive Secretary, GHASALC, said the education was much needed for them to know the basics of the VAT and how they are going to be implemented. She explained that when such exercises are carried out they help to benefit members on knowing what they would do better to help their customers and educating them as well to know more on the importance of the VAT.

“As we have been given this platform we understand, miscommunication has been cleared and we will now know how to disseminate the information to our customers because initially we didn’t know anything about it so it was a headache for us in the area of educating and retaining our customers,” she noted.

She called for more of such programmes to help boost the saving and loans agencies as they were not recognised by bankers when they were governed by the bankers Act.

Mr Francis Ocran, Policy and Programmes Department Domestic Tax Revenue Division Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), said the old VAT Act did not include certain sectors.

He said the new one had included the savings and loans group so the education was a laudable effort to help GHASALC be on the same path with them. He said continuous educational programme for financial institutions and the public at large on the VAT Act would be on-going in the 10 regions of the country.