The entrepreneurs, business operators and artisanal workers in the Nkoranza South Municipality of Brong-Ahafo Region has called for the prosecution of tax defaulters in the Municipality to improve on the Assembly’s Internally Generated Fund (IGF).
According to them, majority of tax payers in the Municipality were evading, and reluctant to pay their taxes because many defaulters were not prosecuted.
They included traders, hairdressers, dressmakers, traders, tailors, mechanics and other small scale business operators.
At a stakeholders meeting on improving fee fixing regime/decision for enhanced business development in the Municipality, the business men and women condemned what they described as a high level of partisan politics that had eaten into Assembly’s revenue mobilization drive.
It was organised by the Consecutive Hairdressers Association of Nkoranza, and attended by Assembly Members, civil society actors, business associations, and local government experts.
The meeting formed part of an advocacy project being implemented by the Association, with funding from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, aimed at pushing the Municipal Assembly to actively engage business entrepreneurs in its fee fixing resolutions.
Mr. Jerry Adjei, the Chairman of the Nkoranza branch of the Association of Garages, observed that many traders and business entrepreneurs perceived to be supporters of the two major political parties – NPP and NDC evade tax whenever their ‘governments’ were in power.
This, situation, he added was discouraging other tax payers to honour their tax obligations, because nothing was being done to the defaulters.
Mr. Kwame Adu Gyamfi, the Presiding Member of the Nkoranza Municipal Assembly, admitted the situation was seriously affecting the Assembly’s IGF mobilization.
Tax evasion, he said was a serious offence, but the authorities at the Assembly had not been able to prosecute any defaulter because of political interference.
Mr. Gyamfi expressed the hope that the project would intensify advocacy on the need for the people to pay their taxes for the Assembly to generate the needed funds required for development.
He reminded the people and all tax payers in the Municipality that it would be in their interest if they paid their taxes and rates, saying, without that the Assembly could not also provide them with some basic social facilities.
Dr John Yaw Akparep, a consultant for the BUSAC Fund, expressed regret over the issue, and advised the city authorities to as a matter of urgency, address the problem since revenue collection was devoid of partisan considerations.
He suggested to the assembly to intensify tax education and ensure that all defaulters were prosecuted as soon as possible to deter like-minded others.
Partisan politics, Dr Akparep added would slow down development process in the Municipality if the Assembly failed to address the matter, and urged tax payers too to be patriotic to pay their taxes.
Madam Martha Fosuaa, the Chairperson of the Nkoranza Consecutive Hairdressers Association observed that some of the tax payers were not paying because they did not see the physical benefits of paying the taxes.
Some also did not understand why they should pay tax when the Assembly failed to engage them in fee fixing resolution and unilaterally imposed rates and fees on them, she said.
By Dennis Peprah, GNA