Banks to charge VAT on services

Ghana’s banks would begin charging VAT on some services excluding loans by the end of next month, Ghana Association of Bankers chief executive Daniel Mensah said yesterday. The ministry of finance, Bank of Ghana and the country’s revenue agency were talking to banks and would identify the services on which VAT would be added by the middle of next month, Mensah said, noting that the levy would not be placed on lending. VAT on bank services would be set at a rate of 15 percent, Mensah said. “It’s going to make the cost of people getting financial services more expensive. The areas they initially outlined for the tax to apply was virtually everything, that’s why we’re meeting with them to clarify and to agree.” Finance Minister Seth Terkper raised the VAT rate on goods and services to 15 percent last year from 12.5 percent to boost revenue after falling gold and cocoa prices and rising government wages led the government to miss its budget deficit target. – Bloomberg


Cocoa farmers to get a boost

Nigeria will help cocoa farmers who are targeting production gains by distributing high-yielding seeds and subsidising fertilisers and agrochemicals. The assistance will boost the country’s plans to double annual cocoa output to 500 000 tons. The country is the fourth-biggest producer and would harvest 225 000 tons this season, Amsterdam-based trader Continaf estimated last month. “We’re planning to share fertilisers and agrochemicals to farmers before the rains to protect the crops against infections,” including the blackpod fungus, Peter Aikpokpodion, the head of cocoa value chain development in the ministry of agriculture, said on Friday. – Bloomberg