Parliament of Ghana for the first time has Deferred questions on a Double Tax Agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco.
The house had to defer questions on the double tax aggreement because there were not enough members to take a decision.
This was decided when the Finance Committee presented its report on “the Convention between the Government of Ghana and the government of the Kingdom of Morocco for the Avoidance of Double Tax and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Tax on Income” to the House on June 26, 2018.
The process resulted in heavy controversies from both divide of the House with the Minority calling on the House to “send the agreement back to sender”, literally to mean throw out the Agreement.
The Chairman of the Finance Committee, Hon. Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah presented the Report to the House and called on the House to ratify and approve the Report.
He said the Agreement would encourage increased trade amongst the two countries.
According to the report, the Convention is intended to avoid double taxation on the same income in Ghana and Morocco, which will also help prevent fiscal evasion.
Double taxation which is a taxation principle referring to income taxes paid twice on the same source of earned income, can occur when income is taxed at both the corporate level and personal level.
Double taxation also occurs in international trade when the same income is taxed in two different countries.
Seconding the Motion for adoption, the Member of Parliament for Afram Plains South, Hon. Eric Osei-Owusu indicated that, the purpose of the agreement is to avoid double taxation on the same income in Ghana and in Morocco.
He said most tax regimes discourage international trade and it is important to vary the status quo to encourage increased cooperation and trade.
The Minority however, rejected the stance of the committee on the basis that it would not inure to the benefit of Ghana.
Member for Ningo-Pampram Hon. Sam George, asked the committee to produce just one Ghanaian company in Morocco that is likely to benefit from the agreement.
The Member for Old Tafo and the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, Hon. Anthony Akoto Osei interjected on a point of order and brought the House’s attention to the fact that the agreement is merely on double tax avoidance which is mutually beneficial.
Richard Acheampong, Member of Parliament for Bia East, asserted that the House should rather consider what Ghana is likely to benefit from the agreement, instead of always considering that of other countries.
He added that as it stands, countries would take undue advantage over Ghana.
He wondered why Ghana is sacrificing so much for Morocco, when we do not stand to gain anything.
He added that the consideration should not be about respect to the countries involved, but should rather be of mutual benefit.
Hon. Inusah Fuseini, Member for Tamale Central and ranking Member for Constitutional, Legal and Constitutional Affairs on his part, agreed with the school of thought that Parliament should shoot down the agreement.
He said, severally such agreements have been reached with Ghana not benefiting, and called on the House to reconsider the approval of same agreement.
Hon. Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak, Minority Chief Whip used the principle of boxing to ask the House to reject the agreement.
He said countries that enter such agreements should be on the same scale to mutually benefit.
He reiterated that in this case, where Ghana doesn’t have any means of benefiting, the House should reject the Motion for approval and send the agreement “back to sender”.
The Majority leader also indicated that the concerns of the Minority may be worth considering, but should allow the agreement to go through, so that the House would beguided rejected.
The Minority Chief Whip raised the issue of quorum to demand that the agreement is rejected.
Members there were not up to the required quorum per the Standing Orders of the House.
The agreement was subsequently stepped down upon.