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NDC Minority In Parliament Blocks Incentives To Businesses

NDC MINORITY IN PARLIAMENT BLOCKS INCENTIVES TO BUSINESSES
Parliament of Ghana is yet to grant tax exemptions for some 42 selected companies under the One District, One Factory (1D1F) programme, owing to delays by Parliament’s Finance Committee to complete scrutiny on the respective companies, a development which the Majority leader, Hon. Alexander Afenyo-Markin has decried as a deliberate move by the Minority to frustrate government’s efforts at attracting investment into the country.

In 2021, Government tendered a request to Parliament seeking tax exemptions for various businesses that had participated in government’s flagship 1D1F industrialization policy, seeking to send positive signals to the international investor community and thereby boost their contributions to the economy. The prospect of providing exemptions has been hindered through arduous parliamentary delays, particularly, demands for further deliberation and scrutiny by members of the Minority caucus.

In some of the latest arguments against the exemptions, Hon. Cassiel Ato Forson vehemently opposed the forwarding of the entire exemptions list from the committee stage, pointing to the existence of irregularities with some of the listed companies and their respective demanded amounts in tax exemptions. The minority also shot down a proposition to allow some 15 companies which were assessed as having no such irregularities, to be presented to the floor of Parliament, leaving the majority leader visibly frustrated. While some of the opposing arguments against presenting the list may seem valid, the length of time (in its fourth year) considering the companies raises concerns about a deliberate effort to frustrate government.

The delays threaten to stifle industrial growth. These exemptions are meant to lower operational costs, making it more attractive for businesses to set up and expand their operations. Without these incentives, the affected companies may scale back their plans, leading to slower industrialization and fewer job opportunities, thereby undermining the program’s objectives.

Again the impasse could negatively affect investor confidence in Ghana. International investors look for stability and predictability in economic policies. The perception of political gridlock and uncertainty surrounding the tax exemption process may alarm potential investors, fearing similar bureaucratic hurdles and a lack of policy consistency in the future.

It is imperative for Parliament to take advantage of its unique numerical outlook to advance strong bipartisan relations which shall inure to the benefit of Ghana, as healthy bipartisan collaborations invariably present more stable environments to favour businesses despite the specific government of the day.

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