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Taxes/tariffs are least issues of concern to the voter

...But a tax expert says it’s not surprise.

By: Fred Yaw Sarpong

Taxes/tariffs are among the least issues of concern to the electorate for the December 7, 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

The taxes/tariffs with 2% were among the bottom five ranked issues by respondents during the National Communication for Civic Education (NCCE’s) ‘matters of concern to the Ghanaian voter survey. The rest are Social Services with 2.5%, Housing 1.5%, ICT and Sports with 0.3% each.

But a tax expert, Abdullah Ali-Nakyea said it’s not surprise to see this result from the National Communication for Civic Education (NCCE’s) ‘matters of concern to the Ghanaian voter survey.’

According to him, the results show the level of Ghana’s development. In our part of the world especially in Africa and particularly Ghana what is of significant impact on citizens has been job creation, particularly for the youth,” he mentioned.

He said the youth are interested in job security and getting jobs to do. “Others are interested in having good drinking water, having access to health, having electricity, good roads and others.”

Mr. Ali-Nakyea said infrastructure and some of these basic necessities are of concern to specific group of people in the country. “If you breakdown the analysis to industries you will find out that industries will also not place too much emphasis on taxes. Their key points will be utility and tariffs because these are the cost of their production and the higher it is, is the higher the cost of production. All these things affect their profits and ability to expand and recruit more people.”

He stated that those in the industry sector may have and look at taxes as maybe either second or third issues of concern to them in this election period.

“I am not in doubt at the ordinary citizen not to look at taxes, because what it’s of concern to such ordinary person is not taxes. But the person do not even appreciate that the things that are of concern to him has been provided with tax payers money.”

He said “one may say that the government should go and borrow for development-find, but we should remember that government will have to do business and have to pay the money it borrowed in the future and it will use the taxes to pay that money.”

“The citizen wants to see good roads, have access to health care. But they don’t know that all these are provided for through the taxpayer’s money. Come to think of it if the youth are not employed what tax does they pay? If they does not earn income their spending are also low.

He indicated that there are some of the citizens, particularly those who do not experience the indirect taxes on goods and services, and such people do not contribute much to the economy. “There are even some foods stuff and other things which there are no taxes on them. Such people their concerns will not be taxes.”

“The survey is not bad. It shows the true reflection of how as a country we appreciated taxation. Instead of it being the top most items. Because in other countries they have all the things the people might have listed. They have good roads, stable electricity, good infrastructure so their issue will be how the government taxes them.”

“But in our part of the world even the basic necessity (food, clothing, shelter, roads, education, health) are not easy to be accessed. Even if you have access to them expenses will be another factor,” he added.

He believes that there is nothing wrong with taxes and tariff been one of the least because it really reflect the issues.

He further stated that “if we have educated people to see link of taxation then all these facilities mentioned will have come to the fact that the tax system must be strengthen. It is a fair ranking of the situation on the group and NCCE must be commended.”



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