Council Of State Member’s Company Gets Huge Tax Cuts

A company belonging to a Member of the Council of State has been given huge tax cuts to import frozen foods by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in an arrangement that smacks of preferential treatment and conflict of interest.

LA Bianca Company Limited which is owned by Madam Eunice Jacqueline Buah has been given the latitude to import chicken, beef, mutton, chevon and seafood at a markdown of 10% benchmark value – an offer no other competitor enjoys.

And she is to enjoy the tax rebate until December after it was granted in October.

The questionable offer, which industry players have said is discriminatory was contained in an October 26 letter from the GRA to La Bianca.

Signed by Deputy Commissioner, Operations Joseph Adu Kyei, the letter claimed the special treatment was on the basis of Section 12 of Act 891.

“In the light of the above, the Commissioner, Customs division in line with Section 12 of Act 891 of 2015 would grant a markdown of 10% benchmark values for the …products depending on the quantity imported,” the letter said.

Interestingly, Section 12 of Act 891, 2015 pertains to advance ruling by the Commissioner-General and has nothing to do with the discount granted to the President’s campaign bankroller and her La Bianca company.

Meanwhile, in addition to being a Council of State Member, Eunice Buah is also a member of the Ghana Ports and Authorities Board and had, together with the other members of her Board sworn in to supposedly plug the holes in the Tema Port’s tax administration.

But more notoriously, she is known as a bankroller of the ruling NPP and a key financier of the Akufo Addo campaign.

As no other frozen foods company has been granted such tax reduction, the offer gives La Bianca a better advantage over her competitors.

And it is not only the official revenue loss to the GRA that government incurs but the implication for Ghana’s already struggling poultry and meat industry.

Already, a pattern of massive tax rebates to Eunice Buah’s companies has affirmed for many the view that the Akufo-Addo government is helping the NPP bankroller to monopolize the frozen foods market of the country.

Madam Buah, the Western Regional representative on the Council of State is also the owner of White Stone Frozen Foods Limited and M&JEES Company which have similarly been benefiting from import duty cuts from the Akufo-Addo government.

Some of her companies have come under investigations by the Bank of Ghana and the Financial Intelligence Center in the past but these investigations have ended up on ice.

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