Participants, members of the Association of Startups Ghana, and young business owners who took part in the Green Skills for Ghana Youth event held to commemorate the 2023 International Youth Day are calling on the government to revise its unpopular decision to tax digital advertising in the country.
The government announced on August 1, 2023 that all Facebook ads in the country will be subject to a 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) in addition to other levies.
According to members of the association and young business owners, the move by the government will only compound the numerous challenges facing young startups and render most of them jobless.
The young business owners shared their frustrations with Citi News on the sidelines of the launch of the Green Skills for Ghana Youth event in Koforidua to commemorate International Youth Day 2023.
The President of the United Nations Youth Association Ghana, Kobina Adomadzi Longdon, called on the government to revise tax measures that are hampering the growth of young businesses.
“Taxes that are accumulating will not help young startups and young businesses. It takes a lot to build a business in Ghana, and it’s not just the mindset or money, but it takes a lot of dexterity and commitment to build from scratch. So if you compound taxes alongside other issues that individuals and groups in business go through, then it’s too much of a heavy burden on young startups. So we are calling on all stakeholders, including the government, to intervene.”
“This is an opportunity for the government to make a constructive and sustainable impact on startups and businesses. The government should make it practical and not just a talk shop. Reduce the taxes to make sure that young people who are eager to go into business because they can’t find jobs out there can get a better opportunity to build themselves.”
Dr. Bernice Korkor Gligah, a senior lecturer at the Koforidua Technical University, spoke to Citi News about the disturbing move and called on the government to immediately intervene by providing tax exemptions to help encourage more youth to venture into entrepreneurship.
“As a lecturer and business coach for over a decade, I have engaged students and practising micro and small businesses over the years. The challenges they face are enormous, but the one that stands out is the financial and tax burden they face as they conduct their business. We have been advocating that they formalize their businesses, and the few who do are complaining about the high taxes. So I want to use this opportunity, in as much as we are celebrating the youth and encouraging them to enter into entrepreneurship and try to formalize and commercialize their businesses.”
“We want to implore all stakeholders to, if need be, look at the tax components again and, if possible, give them tax exemptions and reliefs. We are aware that there are tax reliefs for youth under 35 years old, so let’s implement them. So that more can venture into entrepreneurship, so we can see the benefits from those who have started and encourage others to do so.”