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Business News Wed, 3 Dec 1997

"VAT will ensure Social Justice", Minister

Nandom (Upper West) 2 Dec. '97 Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, Minister of Defence said yesterday that the re-introduction of the value added tax (VAT) is to ensure that everybody who qualifies to pay tax does so as a matter of social justice. He said under the present tax system the bulk of the people who pay taxes are salaried workers and registered business companies while majority of the people in the private sector who ought to be paying taxes are not doing so.

Alhaji Iddrisu made this observation when he addressed the annual "KAKUBE" Festival of the Chiefs and people of the Nandom Traditional area in the Upper West Region. The festival is an occasion of reunion of the people and also to thank the gods of their ancestors for a good harvest.

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The Minister said it is only through the implementation of VAT that the government can mobilise adequate revenue for national development, adding that the situation where government has to rely on loans to support its development efforts in not healthy and must be reversed. He added that in addition to the provision of free medical care for ante-natal mothers, children and the aged, government will extent this facility to cover snake bites and other ailments throughout the country next year. Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Upper West Regional Minister called on the Nandom youth association to mobilise the people to initiate development projects for their area. He commended the Chiefs of the area for the peace and unity prevailing there but however appealed to the Nandom Naa to fill all the vacant skins in the traditional area to provide the people with the necessary leadership for development. Mr.. Johnson Asiedu Nketia, a Deputy Minister Of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) said under the Upper West Agricultural Development Programme, twenty-five dams and dugout wells would be rehabilitated while forty a hand dug wells would also be provided for selected communities in the region. He advised farmers in the region to diversify their agricultural activities and concentrate more on live stock production because of the poor nature of soils in the region. Naa Puobe Poure Chiri, Nandom Naa appealed to the government and non governmental organisations for food aid because of poor harvests in the region this year. He also appealed to the government to reconsider the implementation of the Kamba irrigation scheme to ensure all year round food production. gri

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