Duty exemption for tourism sector to be reinstated

Akwasi Agyeman

Players in the tourism sector are to get back the duty exemption they used to enjoy when they imported specific capital equipment, machinery and appliances among others, which was withdrawn in 2011 because they abused it.

This time, though, the duty has to be paid first; and when the investor proves that, indeed, the refrigerator, television set or bedding and fixtures he/she imported was dully installed in a tourism establishment, they receive a refund.

“Initially, the business community complained, asking why should they pay first; but now people have understood that it is to check fraud,” CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, told the B&FT.

“So, we are bringing it back; we have had extensive discussions with GIPC and it is at a point where it will be reintroduced in parliament during the coming months,” he explained.

“We only get more revenue when more registrations come up; that is why we are encouraging investments,” he indicated.

Among other things, he disclosed that the authority has already served notice for industry players to either register their establishments or face sanctions, saying: “What we have done is to give a grace-period so, that those unlicensed establishments can come and register at no cost. Once they do the registration, then we can pursue enforcement of the law,” he said.

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This, he added, is to enable the GTA collect taxes due the state, and ultimately increase the authority’s revenue going forward.

The authority (GTA) has a GH¢23million revenue target for 2018, which Akwasi Agyeman explained will be realised from internally generated funds as well as through the tourism levy – a 1 percent levy paid by users of tourism establishments in the country.

“This year, our target is to realise about GH¢8million from internally generated funds. We are also looking at GH¢15 – GH¢16million from the Tourism Levy, which will be a 50 percent increase over what we did last year,” Mr. Agyeman said.

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