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Traders In Accra To Shut Their Stores In Solidarity With Counterparts In Kumasi Over Taxes



Retail trade in the country could grind to a halt by the close of work on Wednesday as the Greater Accra Regional branch of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) joins their counterparts in Kumasi to close down their shops.

This is in protest of what they describe as the unfair implementation of tax measures by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The shutdown of shops is in its third day in Kumasi and the traders have vowed to sustain the action until the GRA withdraws their personnel stationed at shops, restaurants, and other businesses to record sales of products for tax purposes.

The National President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, in this regard urged its members nationwide to close their shops, accusing the GRA of unfairness and high handedness in the implementation of the policy.

“You have a system that does not ensure fairness, you have a system that does not ensure equity, you have a system that runs trade concurrently in the same market that we have the standard rate that one pays 90.25 percent and then we have VAT rate of four percent and then we have those who do not pay the VAT at all and they are all legitimate. What system is this?” he questioned GRA.

According to him, “what GRA has done to the VAT system makes compliance very difficult.”

This, he claims, is due to the current economic downturn, which makes it difficult for businesses to thrive with exchange rates collapsing their capitals.

But the Ghana Revenue Authority says it won’t tolerate excuses from companies who refuse to register on its new electronic platform, as quoted in report.

The Authority has already shut down major trading franchises including the China Mall, Palace Mall and the Regal Chinese Restaurant in Osu for failing to list.

The officials of the GRA are on the move again saying there are more companies that will suffer closure if they ignore the caution.

Mr. Phillip Acquah, the Assistant Commissioner, VAT Administration, at the GRA urged businesses to cooperate with the Authority to ensure that their systems are onboard the platform.

Meanwhile, an executive member of the Adum Traders Association in Ghana, Charles Appiah Kubi said that until the challenges are resolved, they will remain closed indefinitely.

According to him, as businesses, they are not against the payment of taxes, however the structure of the VAT system is hindering the payment.

“We have not said that we don’t want to pay taxes … our market is so unique that you do not impose taxes that do not sit with the dynamics within the market when you introduce VAT into our system, you have few businesses that have registered for VAT if they have to add the six percent levy on it, their prices go so high that customers do not to buy from them and rather buy from those not registered for VAT with cheaper prices,” he said.

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