The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union has commended Government for heeding its call to reconsider its decision on the income tax threshold which was scaled up at this year’s mid-year budget review.
Per the review, the government will now charge the income tax on earners of 35 per cent of GH¢20,000.00 and above, instead of GH¢10,000.00.
“This change in policy direction is a huge respite to many workers whose income and expenditure patterns got disrupted to put their financial plan back on track”.
Mr Prince William Ankrah, the General Secretary of the Union, said this in Accra at the National Executive Council meeting of the Union.
He said given the critical role tax revenue plays in the economy, the Union wishes to urge Government to expand the tax net by devising other strategies to rope-in more taxpayers into the tax net.
“We commend Government for the rigorous enforcement of the Tax Identification Number, National ID Card and the implementation of the tax stamp, all of which are geared toward expanding the tax net”.
Mr Ankrah also commended Government for the ban and the sustained fight against illegal mining and establishment of new benchmarks as a prerequisite for engaging in small scale-mining going forward.
“It is our firm believe that the new benchmarks, if implemented to the letter, will go a long way in streamlining the activities of the small-scale subsector of the industry for the mutual benefit of the stakeholders”.
Touching on education, the Union commended Government for the implementation of the Free SHS Policy which had exponentially expanded access to secondary school education and its twin policy of the Double Track System.
The Union urged government to ensure that a sustainable source of funding such as the oil revenue was earmarked for the free SHS policy.
Mr Ankrah said the Union welcomed AngloGold Ashanti back after the resumption of its operations at its Obuasi Mine, adding that the Obuasi’s rejuvenation would bolster the industry’s activities by way of new business opportunities through the value chain for most contractors, the creation of new job opportunities for workers, among others.
He said that other new projects anticipated to expand the industry’s production frontiers include but not limited to the Asanko Gold’s Esaase Project likely to come on-stream in 2019 as well as the Integrated Bauxite and Aluminium Project by Government in 2019.
Mr Ankrah expressed concern about the growing precarious work arrangements in the industry, adding that the regulatory structures in the country have failed to use regulations to streamline and deal with the issue, leaving a vacuum for employers to exploit the system to the detriment of workers.
He said the high cost of operation of some of the companies due to the deteriorating infrastructure in many of the mining communities and lapses over the enforcement of the standard health and safety regulations in the small to medium scale mining operations in the country particularly concessions operated by Chinese investors were some challenges.
The Union expressed worry about the impasse between Menzgold Limited and its members, urging the government to deal swiftly and decisively with anybody found culpable in the issue.
Mrs Philomena Aba Sampson, the Vice Chairperson, Trade Union Congress, commended the Union for its role in fighting for the interest of members and ensuring that the right things were done.
She advised members to hold the constitution in high esteem and abide by its tenets and keep abreast with the rules and regulations in the industry.
Dan Soko is a short story author and web content editor. He has work appearing or forthcoming in over a dozen venues, including GhanaScoop, Nigeria Daily News and CapitalBay. When he’s not frightening strangers with his post and writing, he’s most likely frightening his wife Mimi and their two mischievous cats: Buttons and Snaps. You can visit him at www.ghananation.com/author/webby.