Budget Speech Highlights
Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta presented the 2017 budget statement and economic policy to parliament on Thursday, 2 March 2017.
- The budget projected a fiscal deficit of 6.5% and total revenue expects to increase to GHS44.9 Billion.
- It was also announced that Government has commenced to revive and implement the National Identification Scheme in 2017. Individuals that are registered will be provided with Unique Identification Number and an ID card at no cost. This will facilitate various private and public service distribution such as mobile banking, health insurance and revenue collection amongst other things.
- Tax Credits were proposed to businesses that employ young graduates. Currently the legislation allows companies to deduct up to 59% of wages and salaries for employing newly graduated individuals. The proposal seeks to provide additional incentives to businesses that employ graduates from the tertiary institutions.
- No tax rate changes were announced.
New Policy to tighten Foreign Worker Rules
The Labour Minister, Ali bin Nasser Al Ghafis has approved tougher foreign worker rules which will come into effect 3 September 2017.
The aim of the new policy is to pressure companies into hiring more Saudis to help the kingdom achieve one of its economic reform goals launched in 2016 to ease unemployment among Saudis, however the policy may complicate other aspects of the reform drive such as developing private sector businesses and diversifying the economy beyond oil.
One of the regulations under the new policy is that construction firms with between 500 and 2 999 workers would have to employ 100% Saudis to be in the top platinum category. If they only employ 10%, they will be in the lower green category.
The labour ministry grades firms per the ratios of Saudis in their workforces. Companies with higher ratios get preferential treatment when obtaining visas for foreign workers or licences, those in lower categories face penalties.
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