Members of the Ghana Haulage Transport Owners Association (GHTOA) have protested against the 110 per cent increase in Vehicle Income Tax (VIT) by the Ghana Revenue Authority and have threatened a sit-down strike if government fails to review the increment on its operations.
GHATOA describes as completely unacceptable and unjustified, the astronomical increase of the tax rate from GH˘90.00 to GH˘200.00 per quarter at a time when petroleum prices had also gone up and claims it could collapse their businesses, according to a report filed by Sampson Nyamekye of HelloFM, Kumasi.
This was after the group held a press conference in reaction against the upward income tax adjustment for haulage trucks which was announced by Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor in this year’s budget.
According to Sampson Nyamekye quoting the Chairman of the Association, Alhaji Amuda Maidugu, the leadership of the group has directed its members not to renew their VIT, due for January 15, until their grievances had been resolved by the government and have petitioned government to take a second look at the new rates.
Below is a copy of the petition that the GHTOA sent to government.
MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT.
PETITION FOR REDUCTION IN VEHICLE INCOME TAX
We respectfully wish to register our protest at the recent increase in the Vehicle Income Tax (VIT) by the Ghana Revenue Authority which we consider to be very astronomical and unrealistic considering the problems faced by the transport sector.
An increase from Gh⊄ 90.00 to Gh⊄ 200.00 which represents 110% is in our estimation way beyond acceptable levels when viewed against our current circumstances. Prices of any product associated with transportation have unsurprisingly shot up as a result of the hike in fuel prices.
This is now taking its toll on us and we appeal to you to take immediate steps to reverse the situation to forestall the unfortunate situation of sending some of our members out of business.
Ours is an industry that employs over 15,000 people and has created thousands of other ancillary jobs with several households to take care of and as such any disturbance in the sector would automatically affect thousands of Ghanaians.
We believe putting people out of jobs would be antithetical to the functions of government which include creating opportunities for the entire citizenry. We cannot be left out.
Our industry has suffered some setbacks in the past few years which have affected our ability to generate more revenue and indeed the situation has had unfavourable effects on our members.
Changes keep occurring in the way and manner vehicles are taxed in this country and with each change, transport owners are the ones to bear the hardship. We think it is about time this is stopped.
Before the coming into office of the last administration, vehicles were taxed as and when they carted goods at the various ports until a quarterly system was introduced that then made it compulsory for every vehicle to be taxed every three months whether or not it has hauled any goods.
We have until now accepted this situation although the effect on our businesses cannot be overstated.
This association would like to bring to your attention the fact that, the decision by most of the landlocked countries not to import goods via Tema due to problems they encountered with, such as documentation has greatly affected us and the country as a whole.
Now that they rely on countries such as Togo and others to import their goods, our vehicles are left packed for months without anything to haul and the effect of this is there for all to see.
As said earlier, prices of parts such as tires have all soared due to the upward adjustment in fuel prices and any financial burden imposed on us again would go a long way to impact on us negatively.
We are also now saddled with having to meet other financial obligations to the state such as paying road tolls, and one can count up to about ten of these from Tema all the way up to Paga, Hamile or Kulungugu.
Another problem we face that has sadly been glossed over is the fact that we pay double taxation to government. Aside of the VIT we pay every quarter, we are also deducted 5% for the haulage of cocoa and, even whiles we are in the cocoa season we still have to pay the VIT.
This is unfortunate and, we urgently appeal to you to critically consider the situation and take actions that would be appropriate in mitigating our situation since our contribution to the development of the nation cannot be underestimated.
Our association suggests that, the VIT should remain at Gh⊄90.00 to make matters easier for us or government should also consider reversing to the old system of, on the spot taxing. We will co-operate in any attempt at finding workable solutions.
Our members are due to renew their VIT by the 15th of this month failure of which we will be in collision with the security services and as law abiding citizens we would like to avoid this situation. Our directives to members however are that they should not renew their VIT.
As per this petition, the association respectfully communicates to you our decision to embark on a sit down strike, as we humbly call on you and all other stakeholders to handle the situation with dispatch and the urgency it deserves as we all work towards the progress of our dear country.
We thank you and hoping you would act with the utmost concern as this is no less a great duty to be undertaken by you.
Long live Ghana! Long live Transportation.
Alhaji Amuda Maidugu
Minister of Finance and
The Chief of Staff
The Dir. General
Ghana Revenue Authority
Ghana Revenue Authority
Source: Sampson K. Nyamekye/ HelloFM
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