Business News Tue, 29 May 2018

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Minority cautions against more tax waivers for MPS

The Minority in parliament is cautioning of a possible distortion to the scope of work on the Tema Port expansion, following calls for a downward review of the tax waivers granted Meridian Ports Services(MPS).

The Tema Port Expansion project which is expected to be completed by 2019, has been plagued with controversy with calls for the original deal to be renegotiated.

MPS Limited has been working on the expansion project since 2016.

With an initial project cost of about 1.5 billion dollars, MPS attracted a tax waiver of 832 million dollars, approved by Parliament.

The project cost has since reduced to 1.2 billion dollars, following the completion of the actual cost of implementation.

Subsequent requests have been made for a review of the tax waivers.

But the Minority in Parliament has disagreed.

The Ranking Member of Parliament’s Committee on Roads and Transport, Kwame Agbodza has kicked against any move to grant the company more tax waivers.

“The 1.5 billion price tag of that project is an estimated cost. So if there is a presidential commission that went to meet MPS to renegotiate and then decide to come to parliament, we in parliament would like for them to come and explain exactly what they are doing. If they even come to parliament to get a reduced tax waiver does that give an indication of exactly how much the project will cost? “, he asked.

He added that “it would have been easier for us to determine the true cost of the project at completion. I just think it is probably premature for them to even determine whether they need a reduced tax waiver or increased tax waiver.”

Presently, Citi Business News understands that the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority has a thirty percent stake in the company.

Fifteen percent is guaranteed, while the remaining is expected to be obtained through the re-injection of royalties due the GPHA.

Parliament is yet to respond to a recommendation by the 11-member presidential committee for a revision of the tax waivers.

Source: citibusinessnews.com

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