Ghana new tax law GRA in contempt of Parliament over 1% tax scrap

The ranking member of parliament's Finance Committee told Accra based Class Fm in an interview that nobody can change a law passed by parliament, and that if anyone wants to make amendments to a law, they must come to parliament.

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The Member of Parliament for Old Tafo, Dr. Anthony Osei Akoto has questioned the basis on which the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) suspended the 1% withholding tax on interest earned by individuals.

The ranking member of parliament's Finance Committee told Accra based Class Fm in an interview that nobody can change a law passed by parliament, and that if anyone wants to make amendments to a law, they must come to parliament.

“A law is a law and nobody, except parliament, can amend it,” he said.

The GRA on Wednesday 13 January directed the suspension of 1% withholding tax on interest earned by individuals in a press statement.

The suspension was in response to government's proposals to parliament to repel the law following public backlash after banks sent out text messages to customers informing them about the new law.

The tax imposition on interests is part of provisions in the new Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896) which came into force on January 1, 2016.

Anthony Akoto explained that when parliament pass a law, and portions of it need to be amended like in the case of the 1% withholding tax, proposals must be sent to parliament to that effect.

He declared GRA's action as being in contempt of parliament.

"As I speak, nobody has brought anything for us to amend, so, in essence, the GRA is in contempt of Parliament… another issue we are going to raise more than likely. I have made it known to the ministers that it should not happen," he said.

“The GRA has to come and explain why they want to break the law and if they do not have any good reasons, then there will be appropriate sanctions," he added.

Anthony Akoto also revealed that he's spoken to the Speaker on the matter, and other MPs who dont't find it right.

“I have already spoken to the Speaker and some other people that I don’t find it right. People say they don’t respect parliament, this is part of the reason," he said.

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