GHANA

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.

 

SAUDI ARABIA

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.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.

© 2017 CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

INCREASE OF THE UIF EARNINGS LIMIT

The increase to the UIF limit has been published by the Minister of Labour in Government Gazette No. 40691 dated 17 March 2017, which relates to unemployment benefits in terms of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 2001 (Act No. 63 of 2001).

The Minister has amended the scale of benefits referred to in Government Notice No. 588 which was published in Government Gazette No. 3550, dated 03 August 2012.

The UIF earnings limit increase from R178 464 per annum to R212 539 per annum, or R14 872 per month to R17 712 per month with effect from 01 April 2017.

 

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.

© 2017 CRS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

NAMIBIA BUDGET SPEECH HIGHLIGHTS

The Minister of Finance, Hon. Calle Schlettwein, presented the 2017/18 Budget Speech to Parliament on 8 March 2017.

  • A budget deficit equivalent to 3.6% of GDP is projected for 2017/18, representing an improvement from deficits of 6.3% and 8.3% of GDP in 2016/17 and 2015/16, respectively.
  • Implementation of the Tax Arrear Recovery Incentive Programme will continue across all categories of taxes.
  • A tax proposal for a Simplified Presumptive Tax on small units will be developed and tabled.
  • A phased roll-out of the new Integrated Tax System will commence during the year for the full deployment of the system by 2018.
  • Transitional modalities for the establishing of a Semi-Autonomous Revenue Agency will commence with the tabling of the enabling legislation in 2017. The expected commencement date for the Agency is 1 April 2018.
  • The tax incentive programme (tax amnesty) that was announced in January 2017 will continue until 31 July 2017.
  • Tax proposals for curbing base-eroding tax exemptions and deductions on the Income Tax and VAT will be proposed through a stakeholder consultation process.
  • Neither tax rate changes, nor any new taxes were announced.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.

© 2017 CRS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

COIDA ROE DEADLINE EXTENDED

The Department of Labour has announced that the 2016/2017 ROE deadline has been extended until 31 May 2017.  Submissions will open 1 April 2017.

The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act No 130 of 1993 (COIDA) provides for compensation for disablement caused by occupational injuries or diseases sustained or contracted by employees during the course of their employment, or for death resulting from such injuries or diseases.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.

© 2017 CRS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Each business sector has its own SETA (Skills Education Training Authority) and the Skills Development Act requires employers to submit a WSP and ATR to their respective SETA at the end of April.

For some companies, it is an arduous and challenging undertaking to ensure compliance and the timely delivery of the SETA report. For most businesses, there is a genuine desire to invest in skills, but also secure the return on investment, says CRS Technologies, a specialist provider of HR and Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions.

The company says businesses have a clear opportunity to leverage this technology and build their capacity.

Nicol Myburgh, Head of HR Business Unit at CRS Technologies, says a core component of the legislation is that employers with a total salary of R500 000 or more over a twelve-month period are required to pay Skills Development Levies to SARS on a monthly basis. SARS contributes these fees to the respective SETAs (Skills Education Training Authority), which, in turn, is allocated to grants.

Myburgh says, “WSP/ATR legislation is designed to encourage employers to invest in skills and the advantage for businesses is that up to twenty percent of the invested monthly amount can be claimed back from your SETA for all training – including internal training expenditure.”

SETAs offer mandatory grants to employers investing in their employee development. Discretionary grants are also granted to develop scarce skills.

CRS Technologies has an established legislation division with the expertise and resources to advise clients on the best practice process to comply with legislation, and, specifically compile relevant skills reports.

“We can help optimise your BBBEE score and help to increase the financial benefits for your organisation. Clients can literally empower their workforce and build the business at the same time, both in terms of operations and finances,” adds Myburgh.