The National Democratic Congress (NDC) which is one of the main contenders for this year’s general election launched its manifesto on the 7th of September, 2020 outlining to the Ghanaian electorates what to be looking forward to for four (4) years should they be given another chance to lead this country.
Below are extracts of the manifesto which directly address the business community.
This is to help track and prepare to take advantage of the opportunities if they are implemented and advise themselves if otherwise.
Broad Macro-Fiscal Targets – the broad macro-fiscal targets of the next NDC Government are:
– Low levels of inflation that will translate into reduced lending and interest rates.
– High levels of inclusive and sustainable Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates that will create and sustain high income earning jobs.
– Overall budget deficit at sustainable levels using the primary balance as an anchor to ensure that Government financing needs do not crowd-out the private sector.
– Contain public debt within sustainable limits. Found on Page 21.
Private Sector Tax Initiative;
– Small businesses will be exempted entirely from corporate and personal income tax.
– Corporate income tax for medium size companies will be reduced from the current 25% to 15%.
– Newly established medium-sized companies that employ up to twenty (20) staff will be exempted entirely from the payment of corporate income tax for one year.
– Newly established medium companies that employ more than twenty (20) staff will be exempted entirely from the payment of corporate income tax for two years.
– Exempt commercial vehicles and other equipment imported into the country for commercial, industrial and agricultural purposes from import duty.
– Review the Customs (Amendment) Act, 2020 (Act 1014) to scrap the law banning the importation of salvaged vehicles. This will save the local automotive industry, especially Suame Magazine, Kokompe and Abossey Okai from collapse.
– Encourage vehicle assembling companies to operate as a complement to local industry.
– Reverse the decoupling of VAT (12.5%), NHIL (2.5%), GETFund (2.5%), which has brought untold hardship to Ghanaian businesses and households. Found on page 23.
Introduce a Rural Investor Incentive (RII) to create meaningful employment opportunities for the youth in rural areas. This is intended to address the adverse effects of rural-urban migration. Investors in rural communities:
– Will be exempted from dividend and capital gain tax
– Employing up to fifty (50) persons will be granted tax exemptions and other incentives on the importation of capital equipment. Found on page 23.
Provide special tax incentives for indigenous value chain industries such as mineral processing, petroleum-based, agro-based, and pulp and paper industries, to unlock potential sustainable job opportunities. They will:
– Use special tax incentives to maximise the gains from the value chain of indigenous manufacturing activities.
– Introduce the agriculture value chain tax incentives regime within the first quarter of 2021.
– Introduce a Tax Support for Export Growth (TSEG) to address trade and balance of payment deficits and also in furtherance of the One Million Jobs Plan. Special tax incentives will be offered Ghanaian businesses in the Export-Oriented Industries (EOI) to stimulate exports.
– Provide the Shipping Industry with special tax incentives to achieve Ghana’s objective of becoming a world-class cargo hub on the West African coast (similar to Singapore). For example, tax incentives, efficient logistics support, safety and security. Found on page 24.
Revisit Ghana’s international tax policy to protect the tax base and profit shifting through;
– Develop Ghana’s model tax treaty negotiating manual
– Strengthen Ghana’s tax treaties to eliminate transfer pricing
– Establish and equip a new Centre with experts to specifically handle international tax-related issues. Found on Page 24.
– Within one year in office, pay the full amount due to every victim of the reckless handling of the financial sector clean up by the Akufo-Addo Government.
– Within one year in office, pay cash to holders of zero-coupon bonds issued over five years.
– Forge ahead with efforts to improve financial sector oversight and market transparency and discipline.
– Set up a Financial Services Authority to regulate the financial services industry, protect consumers, and ensure fair competition in the financial services sector.
– Implement fully the Basle III framework which comprises risk-based capital and liquidity standards to help mitigate the potential impact of future systemic crises, reduce the overall capital cost to banks, and positively impact the availability, price and volume of credit.
– Establish new Regional Development Finance Institutions (banks) to support credit delivery and provide risk capital for economic development projects.
– Enhance the credit infrastructure such as the operations of the commercial courts, credit referencing and the enforcement of credit contracts.
– Conduct a forensic audit of the entire financial clean-up exercise including the Ghana Amalgamated Trust Plc (GAT)
– Investigate the circumstances and the printing of high-value GH¢100 and GH¢200 denomination notes.
– Restore indigenous participation in the financial services sector to further create jobs under the One Million Jobs Plan.
– Ensure a well-regulated and tiered financial system to cater for the various segments of the market such as Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
– Reform and strengthen microfinance, rural and community banks as part of a broader strategy to promote local economic development.
– Transform, strengthen and diversify the entire financial sector, including the introduction of non-interest-bearing Islamic finance products.
– Amend National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766) to improve efficiency in service delivery and enhance operational and financial efficiency of the SSNIT scheme.
– Amend National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766) to allow contributing workers who lose their jobs suddenly due to natural occurrences such as the COVID-19 epidemic, to be paid some allowances while they search for new opportunities.
– Amend National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766) to allow workers who have contributed for a period of ten (10) to fifteen (15) years to use their contributions as collateral to access mortgage loans.
– Pay pensioners an annual thirteenth-month bonus.
– Strengthen corporate governance across the financial services industry and build highly skilled human resources for the financial services sector.
– Establish a specially tailored pension scheme for the informal sector and incorporate a provision for unemployment benefits for workers such as farmers, drivers, fishermen, traders, market women and artisans.
– Link the issue of informal pension coverage to financial inclusion through digital services.
– Raise the level of participation in the three-tier pension scheme for the benefit of formal pension holders.
– Utilise tier 2 contributions to set up a Mortgage Assistance Fund to support workers to own their homes.
– Continue the SSNIT affordable housing projects across the country in partnership with the private sector. Found on Pages 29 & 30.
Savings and Loans Companies: Non-bank financial institutions(NBFIs) play important roles in the financial system. They complement the commercial banks by filling gaps in the scope of services. This will be done through;
– Reorganise the Savings and Loans (S&Ls) industry to facilitate their complementary role in the provision of financial services.
– Regulate S&Ls under a more flexible legal regime by revising Act 930 and the NBFI Act, 2008 Act 774, and ensure that capital levels correspond to permissible activities.
– Allow NBFIsto clear cheques through the Ghana Integrated Payments System (GhIPSS). Found on Page 30.
Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) – They remain committed to making financial services accessible to a large segment of the population that has little or no access to financial services. They commit to provide synergy and integrate the informal sector into the formal financial system. This will not only create employment opportunities but also increase the productivity and household income of the economically active poor. They will:
– Introduce a new model of microfinance that will be governed by an apex regulator for the MFIs.
– Cluster the institutions into two (2) groups namely, deposit-taking institutions as Tier 1 and non-deposit-taking institutions as Tier 2.
– Build confidence and strengthen regulation by renewing MFI licenses and certification every two (2) years.
– Limit the areas of operations of the deposit-taking MFIs to the regions where they operate. Found on Page 31.
The next NDC Government will introduce a new Pension Scheme for organised groups in the informal sector of the Ghanaian economy, specifically:
– Cocoa and Cashew Farmers
– Driver Unions such as GPRTU, PROTOA and Co-operatives
– Ghana Union of Traders Association
– Beauticians and Hairdressers Associations
– Dressmakers and Tailors Associations
– Garages Associations
– Artisans Association of Ghana
– Farmers and Fishermen Associations.
The next NDC government will contribute a percentage on behalf of any group that participates in the new informal sector scheme. Found on Page 32.
Enhance measures towards combating money laundering, terrorist financing and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
– Promote the effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (AML/CFT & P) and other related risks at the national level.
– Address the identified strategic deficiencies in Ghana’s AML/CFT & P system and, thereby, obviate the need for any sanctions or ‘blacklisting’ by FATF, the international standard-setting body, or the European Union.
– Resource and capacitate the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) as well as other key agencies engaged in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
– Introduce standardised certification for AMLROs and Heads of Compliance in all financial institutions.
– Fast-track AML/CFT & P cases, with the setting up of more special courts for financial crimes.
– Ensure better synergy among the FIC, EOCO and the Judiciary to enhance investigation, asset tracing, and prosecution. Found on Page 33.
In recognition of the contribution of Co-operatives in the sectors of trade, agriculture, pharmaceutical, transportation, among others, the next NDC Government will:
– Work with the Ghana Co-operatives Council to restructure the sector to respond to modern economic and financial needs of communities.
– Empower, support and build capacities for co-operatives to play key roles in rural and community socio-economic improvements.
– Collaborate with the Council and stakeholders of the over 3,500,000 co-operatives in Ghana to review and enact a new co-operatives law to reposition co-operatives in community financial inclusion, productivity and socio-economic development, and
– Promote the interest of youth in the formation of co-operatives. Found on Page 33.
In conclusion, the above are the undertakings of the NDC to you as a business person and/or investor.