Business News of 2014-08-09

Business survey is not a ploy to tax – GSSS

The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) says the main goal of its Integrated Business Establishment Survey (IBES) is not to expand taxation of the informal sector, but to create a national database of businesses for effective policy- and decision-making.

GSS has fixed September this year to commence the nationwide census to capture all non-household establishments in the country. The three-month exercise will see the enumeration of most business outfits irrespective of their status as registered or unregistered businesses.

It is widely speculated that respondents in the informal sector may shy away from the survey due to fears that government might trace them with details provided to compel them to pay their taxes, at a time domestic tax collection has fallen short of expectations.

The Government Statistician, Dr. Philomena Nyarko, explained at an IBES stakeholder sensitisation workshop in Accra that the survey’s main purpose is not to produce a database for government to rely on for the purpose of taxing the informal sector.

“We have to note that the purpose of this survey is not to relay the register to government for the purposes of taxing the informal sector…The broad aim of IBES is to provide a business register of all establishments to serve as basis for enhanced policy formulation and effective decision-making by both government and the business community,” she said.

The IBES survey will source information such as location and employment data from entities operating from all the 22 economic sub-sectors, including retail, manufacturing, education, artisans, civil and religious organisations and health.

The US$10.6million survey will be done in two phases, with the first phase involving 8,000 enumerators who will visit every establishment in the country to collect information about their activities. In the second phase of the exercise, however, GSS staff will visit selected establishments to collect detailed information about their operations.

The exercise is being financed by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID) and the Dutch Government under the World Bank’s Ghana Statistics Development Project.

According to Anthony Krakah, IBES Project Coordinator, the stakeholders’ workshop was to inform the business community of the exercise’s objectives and benefits, and also to court their support for project’s implementation.

Apart from conducting the population and housing census, the Statistical Service is mandated by law (PNDC Law 135) to undertake a coordinate scheme of economic and social statistics relating to the country.

The Finance Minister Seth Terkper, in the mid-Year review of the 2014 budget statement, stated that government’s domestic revenue target of GH¢7.3billion fell short by 2.7 percent due to a slowdown in economic activities and lower domestic revenue collections.

Source: B&FT
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