Business News of Wed, 3 Dec 19970

Don't Use Positions To Acquire Wealth

Takoradi (Western Region) 2 Dec. '97 Participants at a public forum on the value added tax (VAT) at Takoradi at the weekend appealed to the President to impress upon Ministers of state and other top government functionaries not to use their offices to acquire wealth at the expense of the people to restore public confidence in government policies such as the VAT. They said allegations in the media on the lifestyle of some state functionaries must be of great concern to the government adding that efforts must be made to reassure the public that the collection of additional taxes would not be used to fund such corrupt tendencies. The forum, organised by the people's educational association (PEA) of

the institute of adult education to educate the public on the VAT, was attended by a large number of people including members of the association, officials of the customs, excise and preventive service (CEPS) and the academia. While agreeing that the widening of the tax net would lead to the generation of more revenue, the participants wondered whether the government would use such funds as additional expenditure to the detriment of the economy. Mr., John Gasinu of the VAT project said the tax system would protect

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local industries from unfair foreign competition. He alleged that under the present tax system, certain companies smuggle their imports such as sugar and timber into the market without paying taxes on them at the entry points because they are expected to be used in manufacturing. Barima Sapaning also of the VAT project noted that inflation was not a factor in introducing VAT since it has a mechanism to reduce it. He urged Ghanaians to accept VAT since it would generate more revenue for the rapid development of the country. gri

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