The youth wing of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has announced a series of actions to resist what it describes as government’s “burdensome and insensitive policy” of imposing a 10 per cent tax on bet wins in the country.
According to the NDC youth wing, its determination to protect funds young people secure through betting is unwavering.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, 15 August 2023, signed by its National Youth Organiser George Opare Addo, the NDC indicated it will use “agitations, protests, advocacy and civic engagements,” to ensure government rescinds its decision to impose a 10 percent tax on bet wins.
According to the NDC youth wing, young people cannot be burdened to compensate for “the money stolen and stashed by the appointees of this NPP government and saved in their homes and bank accounts” as well as “the massive corruption happening at the Bank of Ghana under the watch of Dr Ernest Addison” and “the failed vision of President Akufo-Addo’s government,” among others.
The NDC youth wing says it, therefore, intends to “picket the offices of the Ministry of Finance and occupy government offices across the country; start and scale up a nationwide conventional and unconventional lawful agitations as a measure of the resistance; instigate young people to confront officials of this government and demand an end to the corruption and insensitivity of the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia brigade; and occupy parliament and other government agencies.”
It, therefore, urged young people to “mobilise and join this struggle.”
The government announced the 10 per cent withholding tax on all gross game winnings a few weeks ago.
The implementation of the tax was set to take off on Tuesday, 15 August 2023.
The new tax will be applied to profits gained after each win while the existing 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) on stakes will be discontinued.
This alteration is in accordance with an amendment to the Income Tax Act 2023 (No.2), specifically Act 1094.
During a media interaction, Mr Edward Gyamerah, the Commissioner for the Domestic Tax Revenue Division at GRA, emphasised that gaming companies failing to comply with this policy will encounter penalties, including the revocation of their licences.
Mr Gyamerah directed: “As of August 15, it is expected that you will remit 10 per cent to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) during payments. Since you have been designated as withholding agents, the responsibility lies with you to carry out the withholding.”
Meanwhile, the Concerned Betters of Ghana has warned against the implementation of the withholding tax by the Ghana Revenue Authority.
Reacting to the directive, CBOG said in a statement signed by Convener Richard Aguda, that: “We… reject the announcement by the GRA for the implementation of 10 per cent tax on all betting, games and lottery wins from Tuesday, 15 August 2023”.
“CBOG wishes to say that an attempt to go ahead to levy the ordinary Ghanaian, especially the youth in betting, in an already-tax-burdened society, is a recipe for chaos,” the statement said.
The group said: “Betting, games and lottery, have become an avenue for livelihood for millions of Ghanaians youth due to the unavailability of jobs and taking 10 per cent of its winnings is a scandalous means to push the youth into more abject poverty.”
The association, in its press release in April this year on the rejection of 10 per cent tax, said it pleaded on behalf of the teeming betting youth “but it was, as usual, ignored,” the group noted.
It said: “Taxing the very source of survival for many Ghanahans in this currrent economic crisis is clueless and must be rejected.”