Former Presidential Candidate, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, says the exemption of the President from paying taxes, coupled with the unbridled power of the President as guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution, smacks of military dictatorship.
Welcoming as a good move, the Constitution Review Implementation Committee’s (CRIC) recommendation that the President and other Article 71 Office holders pay taxes, Dr Nduom said in a statement that the CRIC Chairman’s submission of a draft bill for the amendment of entrenched provisions in the Constitution to that effect, amongst others, “gives me hope that we are about to arrive at a truly democratic and workable system of governance.”
According to him, “we currently have a system patterned after military dictatorship where power resides in only one person.”
“One item that excites me is that the draft bill contains a provision that will require that the President, the Vice-President and other Article 71 public office holders, including the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice, Justices of the Supreme Court, the Chairman and members of the Council of State, ministers of state, deputy ministers of state and Members of Parliament to pay tax to the state.”
He said the exemption of the President from paying taxes has “led to a ‘do as I say and not do as I do’ mentality in government.”
Dr Nduom argued that: “The current exemption from taxes tells Ghanaians that before the tax authorities some people are more equal or special than others so much so that they should not be taxed.”
“It reinforces the dependency syndrome in the higher ups of the public service,” adding that: “When our President in Ghana pays tax and does it on time as is done in countries such as the USA, then he/she can turn around with full moral authority and chase the rest of us to follow the good example.”
In the former Progressive Peoples’ Party’s Flagbearer’s view, “most people in this world are followers so having our Presidents not paying tax has not helped us to raise the revenue the state needs for development projects and to fund important Constitutional provisions such as free, compulsory, universal basic education (FCUBE).”
He has urged all Members of Parliament and the entire country to support the amendment.