Please, in the name of God, let ‘C-levy’ follow E-levy

Ken Ofori Atta Minister Of Finance 768x808 1.png Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Mon, 7 Feb 2022 Source: Kwaku Badu

It is absolutely true that taxes if put into good use, can go a long way to help the progress of a nation.

However, tax-paying, so to speak, is as hurtful as pulling a hair from your nose. It is indeed painful.

That being said, tax-paying is pivotal in the development of a nation. So, who says it is of less importance in nation-building?

Disappointingly, though, some people either deliberately or out of oversight often fail to honour such an important commitment.

One such group is the well-to-do founders of the so-called one-man churches.

Regrettably, the founders of the one-man churches are hiding behind the charitable status and greedily stashing away huge sums of money without paying taxes to the state.

It is, indeed, heart-warming to see the gallant Men and women at the Ghana Revenue Authority working strenuously to widen the tax net.

I would, however, like to stress that the Ghana Revenue Authority efforts will be incomplete without the inclusion of the founders of the one-man churches, many of whom are blissfully engaging in profitable trading activities.

I do not want to believe that the Almighty God will reprimand Ghana for asking His ‘messengers’ to pay a little tax towards nation-building.

In fact, there is no justification in allowing the founders of the one-man churches to take home all their profits from their trading activities without paying any taxes.

It pains my heart so much to state that the founders of the one-man churches are somehow getting away with their ceaseless scheming guiles and irrevocable self-aggrandizement.

Yes, it is an undeniable fact that freedom of worship is an inalienable human right, which is encapsulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

More significantly, freedom of worship has been transposed and given meaning in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution.

As such, there is no permitted abridgment as to which religious sect one could join. Indeed, individuals have their inherent dignity and inalienable rights to choose or join any congregation of their choice.

In any case, this article is not seeking to censure those churches that have contributed in the past, and still contributing meaningfully towards the advancement of humanity.

It is an undeniable fact that the vast majority of Ghanaians owe a great debt of gratitude to orthodox churches for their unstinting missionary endeavours.

In my humble opinion, the orthodox churches deserve every commendation for their numerous charitable endeavours. However, the same cannot be said about the “one-man churches”.

Regrettably, the founders of the one-man churches have succeeded in proselytising and swindling unsuspected truth seekers, who only want adulterated, more 'palatable' forms of truth, watered down and compromised for convenience.

Sadly, the authorities are reluctant to regulate the activities of the one-man churches.

It would thus appear that the authorities fear the repercussions of being labelled blasphemous by the uncritical churchgoers or do not want to risk votes, considering the massive church population.

The authorities have unfortunately turned a blind eye to the revoltingly ugly activities of the one-man churches such as noise-making, illegal trading (anointing oil), torturing followers, fleecing of the general public, and unnecessary tax evasions.

Of course, the one-man churches have registered or are often seen as charitable organisations-non-profit making organisations. But do they deserve such benevolent status? No.

As a matter of fact and observation, the founders of the one-man churches are making a lot of profits from unconventional trading to feed their opulent lifestyles.

The founders of those churches have been given charitable status in the view that they will help the needy in society, albeit they have refused and still refuse to oblige.

In my view, the founders of the “one-man churches” are not charitable, so they must be given tax codes and let us start deducting taxes that can be used to develop their communities.

Isn’t it true that some of the one-man church owners go about bragging about their wealth? They do. So where then lies the fairness in leaving those “fat cats” from the tax net and then turning around to pursue their impoverished church members?

Unlike the orthodox churches, (Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican amongst others, the one-man Churches are not charitable in any sense, so why give them tax concessions?

It is extremely unconscionable to allow the wealthy founders of the one-man churches to go scot-free and then turn around and pursue low-income earners such as pepper and tomato sellers for taxes from their meagre earnings.

It must, however, be emphasised that charitable organisations elsewhere are exempted from paying direct taxes and they, in turn, reciprocate by undertaking socially-responsible programmes and projects.

It should also be mentioned that in most well-regulated precincts, there is a threshold in the registered charities or social enterprises tax concessions.

For example, if a charitable organisation chose to engage in a profitable activity outside its normal ambit, then profits that would be accrued from such activity become taxable.

I would, therefore, like to submit that in addition to any regulations, there should be a Charity Commission to oversee the activities of all the one-man churches and that of registered charitable organisations and other social enterprises.

Columnist: Kwaku Badu