The Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) is calling for single window payment system to streamline the many agencies members have to pay monies to consuming valuable time they are hard press for.
President of the federation, Madam Bella Ahu indicated tourism outlets have to deal with about ten different state agencies who charge fees, levies and duties blowing their tax bill.
She submitted a regime where the agencies have an integrated system such that a lump sum gets paid and all the agencies take their due will better serve the parties.
The Greater Accra Chairman of the Hotels Association, Benjamin Afunya stated the heavy tax burden on members has led to the laying off of workers. He said with reduction of staff, quality is compromised.
He regretted that their mother body; the Ghana Tourism Authority is not consulted by the tax agencies when slapping a new tax on them alleging with the AMA Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), officials sit in their office, look at the size of their hotels and then slap a hefty sum on them to pay.
The tourism outlets have to pay either levy, charges or duties to about 12 agencies including the Ghana Revenue Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, Environmental Protection Agency, Immigration Service, Registrar General Department, Fire Service as well as get the district assemblies directly levy each hotel unit.
Beyond these statutory regulatory bodies, government has also given legal backing to organizations such as Audio-Visual Rights Society of Ghana (ARSOG), Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO), Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), and Insurance Companies, to license and collect fees from operators of hotels on annual basis.
When these financial commitments are lined up together with the one percent (1%) Tourism levy paid by hoteliers, the VAT on services provided, Tier 1 pension contributions and the annual income tax, a real picture of an industry overburdened with taxes is created.
By Michael Eli Dokosi/goldstreetbusiness.com