GHANA 2017/18 BUDGET STATEMENT

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, presented the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of The Government of Ghana for the 2018 Financial Year to the parliament on 15 November 2017.

Highlights of the budget speech summarized:

  • The overall GDP growth is estimated at 7.9% at the end of 2017, up from the original forecast of 6.3%
  • The overall budget deficit on cash basis was 4.5% of GDP in September 2017 against a target of 4.8% of GDP
  • Inflation was 11.6% at the end of October 2017, compared to 15.4% at the end December 2016

Tax Measures:

  • The implementation of the National Identification Scheme, the National Digital Addressing System, Tax Identification Number System and implementation of the presumptive tax system to broaden the tax base to include more taxpayers.
  • Through a National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, Government will provide a holiday tax period to start-ups or early stage businesses of Ghanaian entrepreneurs who are 35 years or younger.
  • Government will introduce Voluntary Disclosure Procedures (VDP) in the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) to waive penalties on voluntary disclosures and payment of unreported and understated taxes by taxpayers. However, taxpayers will be required to arrange to pay such taxes within a period agreed with the Commissioner-General of GRA.
  • Reviewing of the current income tax thresholds by pegging the tax-free threshold to the current minimum wage to protect low-income earners and ensure fairness in the income tax administration. Government intends to increase the monthly tax-free chargeable amount from GH¢216.00 to about GH¢261.36 for tax resident individuals.
  • As from January 2018 the minimum wage will be GH¢9.68 per day after the most recent increase in July 2017.

 

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

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

A private member’s bill was passed by the National Assembly for the first time

The Labour Laws Amendment Bill, introduced as a private member’s bill by African Christian Democratic Party in November 2015, was passed in the National Assembly on Tuesday, 28 November 2017.

The most important aspect of the Bill is that it allows for all parents, including fathers, same-sex couples, adoptive and surrogate parents, to access leave.

The bill seeks to provide for parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave. It also provides for the payment of parental benefits as well as commissioning parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund

Under the new amendments, it’s proposed that fathers would get 10 days leave, and adopting parents would be eligible for 10 weeks leave.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act currently provides that an employee who is the father of the child may take three days family responsibility leave when that employee’s child is born. The family responsibility leave is paid for by the employer.

Once the Bill is signed into law by the President, a detailed news flash will be circulated.

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

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

During this time of economic uncertainty, businesses are leaning heavily on their workforce to ‘ride the storm’ and emerge stronger. This is a highly pressurised situation and not all parties play fair, which is why terms like substantially fair, procedurally unfair and automatically unfair have emerged and where the law, thankfully, offers much needed clarity.

This is according to Nicol Myburgh, Head of Human Resources at CRS Technologies, integrated HR and HCM solutions and services provider.

From an HR and labour force perspective the Labour Relations Act (LRA) clearly outlines specific conditions when dismissal of employees is automatically unfair, says Myburgh.

“When talking about unfair dismissals it can be categorised between procedurally and substantively unfair, procedurally fair means that all relevant and required procedures were followed throughout, from initiation to sanction irrespective of the merits of the case, a case can be substantively fair and still be procedurally unfair,” he says.

“Substantively fair means that a case was decided on its merits and according to a fair reason without any underhanded sanctions being made,” Myburgh continues.
CRS Technologies outlines what the LRA says about the conditions that govern automatically unfair dismissal.

Essentially dismissal based on one or more of the following circumstances constitute automatically unfair action.

•               Participation in or supporting, or indicating an intention to participate or support a lawful strike or protest action;

•               Refusal to do work normally done by an employee on a lawful strike;

•               Refusing to accept a demand in respect of a matter of mutual interest between them and their employer;

•               An employee exercised a right conferred by the LRA or participated in any proceedings in terms of the LRA;

•               For reasons related to an employee’s pregnancy;

•               As a result of unfair discrimination;

•               Related to a transfer, or a reason related to a transfer as contemplated in section 197 or 197A of the LRA; and

•               In contravention of the Protected Disclosures Act of 2000, by the employer, because of the employee having made a protected disclosure

The LRA states that a dismissal that is not automatically unfair is unfair if the employer fails to prove that the reason for dismissal is a fair reason related to the employee’s conduct or capacity or based on the employer’s operational requirements.

“Should it be found that an automatically unfair dismissal occurred, the CCMA may award the employee a maximum amount not exceeding twenty-four months remuneration. In contrast, should it be found that just an unfair dismissal occurred the CCMA may award the employee a maximum amount not exceeding twelve months remuneration,” Myburgh adds.

CRS Technologies advises employers and employees on the impact of cases of automatically unfair dismissal, for example – an employee has only 30 days from the date on which the dispute arose to open a case.

“If the case is an unfair labour practice, an employee has only 90 days and, with discrimination cases, an employee has six months. It is not necessary for the employee to inform the employer, the CCMA must give parties at least 14 days’ notice in writing,” says Myburgh.

In conclusion, there is no doubt any case of automatically unfair dismissal can have far reaching consequences, but the law, in theory, has been designed to protect the interests of all parties.

Zambian Finance Minister Hon. Felix Mutati announced measures for the 2018 Tax Year to increase the revenue base to drive sustained inclusive growth and to reduce the national debt burden.

The theme of the 2018 National Budget is “Accelerating fiscal fitness for sustained inclusive growth without leaving anyone behind”.

The highlights are as follows:

  • GDP growth of 5%
  • Inflation of between 6% and 8%
  • Limit the fiscal deficit on a cash basis to 6.1% of GDP
  • The Minister announced a K71.6 billion budget for 2018, of which 68.5% will be financed from domestic revenues
  • Amendment of the due dates for filing of the Value Added Tax (VAT) returns and making payments from the 16th of every month to the 18th
  • It is important that employers note that, as from 1 January 2018, the monthly tax relief of K255 provided to taxpayers for contributing to the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) has been removed
  • The PAYE exempt thresholds remain unchanged as follows:

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

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