September 24, 2020

‘Low Property Rate not a ploy to protect the rich’ – Finance Minister

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has debunked suggestions that government has not considered the Property Tax Regime as a critical area for revenue generation as a deliberate strategy to protect the middle class.

The Minister, who spoke on Point of View on Citi TV, said government is interested in all taxes, and is working to rake in the right revenue for the state.

Property taxes, otherwise known in Ghana as property rate, paid on immovable property, is collected annually under the auspices of the Ghana Revenue Authority, GRA.

In Ghana, property tax is levied annually by local authorities on the estimated value of the property, depending on the classification of the area where the property is located.

The rates range from 0.5 percent to 3 percent. There are also different types of property tax, namely: property rates, ground rates and the actual property tax.

Experts in Ghana’s real estate industry have often called for a review of Ghana’s property rate to help rake in the needed revenue for the state.

They have complained about the current regime where owners of multi-million dollar properties are made to pay property tax of about GHS 2, 000 annually, whereas elsewhere, property owners pay much higher amounts for similar property.

They have thus called for a system that will empower and equip special officers at the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies across the country to effectively collect the appropriate property rates for the state.

Following the presentation of the 2020 Mid-year budget review, some have expressed concern about government’s silence on taxation, and how it intends to fund its various programmes amidst the COVD-19 pandemic without adequate domestic taxes.

Speaking on the opportunities that exist within the property rate regime, the Finance Minister said government is working on raking in the right revenue from that sector.

“I am not sure all that we have done has been to the benefit of the middle class or wealthy people. I am not going to let people go off because they are wealthy, I need that money. I will get it done in a hurry” he assured.

The Finance Minister says government will fund its ambitious GHS100 billion Ghana CARES programme and other initiatives through Foreign Direct Investments and Private Public Partnerships.

He added that government is seeking to introduce a policy that will ensure that funds are first sourced locally for domestic projects before external sources are considered.

Source: Business