Weak consumer protection may deprive full effect of tax cuts

A general consensus at a post-budget programme organized by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce(GNCC) has warned that ordinary Ghanaians may not fully benefit from the tax cuts announced in the 2017 budget due to weak consumer protection organizations.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta last week announced about 12 tax cuts in the budget with the high point, being the abolishing of  some taxes.

But a panel, made up of economist, Professor Godfred Alufar Bokpin,  Mr. Godfred Mathew Owusu of the University of Ghana Business School, and CEO of Dalex Finance, Mr. Kenneth Thompson was skeptical the beneficiaries will pass on the full benefit to consumers.

Speaking to Citi Business News after the panel discussion on the budget, Professor Bokpin re- echoed the fears of the panel, pointing out that consumer protection organizations in Ghana are weak, hence cannot push for the full benefit.

“There is a real possibility that the tax cuts may not fully reach the ordinary Ghanaian.  If the workers at Abossey Okai decide not to pass on the gains to the customer, what happens,” he asked, stating that the abolishment of import duties on spare parts must reflect in the prices when the law is passed.

He was of the view that, there must be a deliberate policy to ensure that the beneficiaries of the tax cuts announced in the 2017 budget really profit from it.

“We have to be able to ensure that institutions also work in terms of how micro level interventions trickle down to the micro level and to the individual and the rest of the public. There is a lot of work that we have to do,” he lamented.

Blaming the situation on weak consumer protection organizations, Professor Bokpin maintained that it is important to have strong public participation in the implementation of policies to guarantee its effectiveness.

“Consumer protection in this country is very weak; it is not only in the spare parts industry. In the telecom industry you make a call, how do you track your credit. Sometimes you end a call, but it doesn’t end and your credit keeps running out. Who will you report to?,” he quizzed.

Giving some recommendations, Professor Bokpin stressed that government must engage all stakeholders affected in the tax cuts and sensitize them on the importance of  the budget in ameliorating poverty and enhancing economic growth.

By: Lawrence Segbefia/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

Published on 9 March 2017 | 2:02 pm at Source