The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has directed managers of SOL Cement, located in Tema industrial area, to settle at least 40 percent of the company’s outstanding tax obligation before resuming operations.
The GRA closed the cement factory two weeks ago due to tax defaults valued at GH¢709million, including value added tax (VAT).
Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta, in bid to gain more insight into the reason for the shutdown, visited the factory over the weekend and indicated GRA’s action marks the beginning of efforts to strengthen the country’s revenue – adding that further discussions with the company will be held to resolve the issue.
He stressed the difficulty companies face in meeting their tax obligations, especially given the significant volume of raw materials imported for cement production.
Kwabena Gyambra, Commissioner of Domestic Taxes at GRA, on his part noted that the company’s proposals and commitment to settle its tax obligations to the state have so far been unsatisfactory, resulting in its closure.
“We will allow them [Sol Cement] to reopen once they make a 40 percent settlement of their liabilities and provide a realistic plan for the remaining amount,” he explained.
“They have thirty days within which the company should come up with a satisfactory arrangement of how to pay the remaining 60 percent. If there is failure to do so, then we move to the next stage – that is to declare the company distressed, auction it and take the tax portion from it,” Mr. Gyambra added.
He said routine audits of Sol’s operations have revealed liabilities of all tax types such as VAT, Certified Invoicing System (CIT), interests and penalties etc. He added that the audit assessment covers a three-year period.
He lamented that the company took the taxes from clients after making sales but failed to account for them.
Amani Zhu, the company’s manager – who took on the role of General Manager just two months ago, said he is not aware they are not paying taxes and called for the minister of finance’s intervention.
With no consensus reached between the company and GRA, hundreds of the company’s workers say they hope for an amicable resolution so they can return to work.
Meanwhile, Wan Heng Ghana – parent company of Sol, has issued a statement clarifying its position after the Ghana Revenue Authority found that it had failed to pay US$60.6million (GH¢709million) in taxes.
The producer said: “We acknowledge that we are indebted to the GRA for unpaid taxes. We are fully committed to resolving this matter in a responsible and timely manner. We want to reassure our valued customers, stakeholders and the public that we are taking immediate and proactive steps to address this issue. We are in discussions with relevant tax authorities to develop a structured repayment plan that aligns with our financial capabilities and ensures our tax obligations are met”.
It continued: “Sol Cement remains dedicated to its mission of contributing to the growth and development of Ghana. We understand that paying our taxes is an essential part of fulfilling this commitment. We apologise for any concerns or inconveniences this situation may have caused, and we promise to keep all our stakeholders informed throughout this process.
“We appreciate the trust and support that our customers and partners have placed in us over the years, and we are determined to rectify this situation while continuing to provide top-quality cement products and services. We thank you for your understanding and patience during this challenging period. Sol Cement remains committed to being a responsible corporate citizen and a reliable contributor to the Ghanaian economy.”