Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion and in doing so, I present the Report of your Committee.
The Special Import Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was presented to Parliament by the Hon Deputy Minister, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson on behalf of the Hon Minister for Finance and read for the First time on Thursday, 28th November, 2013. The Bill was referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with article 174 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the House.
Mr Speaker further directed the Committee to determine whether the Bill
is of urgent nature to be taken through all the three stages of passages in a day in accordance with article 106 (13) of the Constitution and Order 119 of the Standing Orders of the House.
Pursuant to the referral, the Committee met with the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth E. Terkpeh, Deputy Minister for Finance, Hon George Kweku Ricketts- Hagan, officials from the Ministry of Finance, Attorney General's Department and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and considered the referral.
The Committee is grateful to the Hon. Minister, Deputy Minister and officials from the Ministry, Attorney-General's Department and the GRA for their assistance.
The Committee referred to the following additional documents during its deliberations:
The 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
The Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009 (Act 791).
Harmonised System and Customs Tariff Schedules 2012.
Special Import Levy, Act, (Act 861).
The Government in the 2013 Budget Statement and Economic Policy presented to Parliament outlined a number of measures aimed at fiscal consolidation and promotion of growth. The 2013 Budget however, had a funding gap of about Eight Billion Ghana Cedis and there was the need to identify other avenues for revenue generation to help mobilise funds to
finance the funding gap in the budget as well as reduce the 2013 budget deficit. The Special Import Levy therefore, represented one of the measures being adopted to increase revenue generation to support government programmes outlined in the 2013 budget.
The Levy was on imported goods to be paid at the point of importation and to be computed on the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of the goods for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 calendar years. As part of the measures to promote local industries and make them competitive, the bill among others is presented to the House to review the end date and exempt certain goods.
Purpose of the Bill
The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Special Import Levy Act, 2013 (Act 861) to review the date that the Special Import Levy ceases to have effect and also to exempt specific goods from the Special Import Levy.
Provisions of the Bill
The Bill is divided into four clauses.
Clause 1 revises the date that the Special Import Levy ceases to have effect from 31st December, 2015 to the 31st of December, 2014.
Clause 2 exempts the goods specified in the First Schedule from the Special Import Levy imposed under Act 861.
Clause 3 amends section 2 of Act 861 to incorporate a new cross reference to the relevant Schedule for the purposes of clarity.
Clause 4 introduces a new Schedule for the list of goods exempted in clause 2 and re-enacts the Schedule on the computation on the rate of the Special Import Levy.
Urgency of the Bill
The Committee in its deliberations considered the Bill to be of an urgent nature and must be taken through all the stages in one day in accordance with Article 106 (13) of the Constitution and Order 119 of the Standing Orders of the House. The Committee proposes this because it observed that the effective date for exempted goods is January, 2014 and also considered the Committee's tight schedule and the fact that Parliament will be going on recess upon the passage of the Appropriations Bill.
Amount realised and expected revenue lost
The Committee was informed that the total expected revenue for the period (August-December, 2013) is two million, two hundred and twenty-nine thousand, five hundred and seventy-six cedis and thirty-nine pesewas (GH¢2,229,576.39) and as at October, 2013, an amount of one million, three hundred and thirty-seven thousand, seven hundred and forty-five cedis and eighty-four pesewas (GH¢1,337,745.84) was realised.
The expected total revenue for the year 2014 was also given as five million, three hundred and fifty thousand, nine hundred and eighty-three cedis and thirty-four pesewas (GH¢5,350,983.34). This implies that the projected revenue lost to the state for the year 2014 is GH¢5, 350,983.34. Detailed break-down is attached as appendix 1
Rationale for the Bill
Touching on the rationale for the Bill, the Minister stated that to further reduce the tax burden on the citizenry and to promote local industries and make them competitive, some imported goods like agricultural and fishing inputs, medical supplies, educational materials and energy saving bulbs are exempted from the payment of the levy.
The Committee after the clause-by- clause discussions of the Bill proposes the following amendments:
i. Clause 1 -- Amendment proposed-- delete and insert the following:
“Section 1 of Act 861 amended
There is imposed by this Act for the years 2013 and 2014, a Special Import Levy on imported goods to be paid at the point of entry and to be computed on the Cost, Insurance and Freight value of the goods.”
ii. Clause 3 -- Amendment proposed -- line 1, delete “in section 2”
iii. Second Schedule -- Amendment proposed -- Item 1, column 2, line 1, delete “Chapter” and insert “Chapters”.
The Committee, upon a thorough examination of the Bill, is confident that the review of the end date and the proposed exemptions has the potential of promoting local industries and make them competitive. The Committee accordingly recommends to the House to adopt its report and take the Special Import Levy
Bill through all the stages in accordance with Article 106 (13) of the Constitution and Order 119 of the Standing Orders of the House.
Ranking Member of the Committee (Dr Anthony. A. Osei): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion moved by the Hon Minister for Finance and I urged Hon Members to adopt it.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
The Special Import Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was accordingly read the Second time.
Suspension of Standing Order 128