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Bawumia: It will be counter-productive to tax churches

Vice-President and Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has stated that taxing churches and Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) will be counter-productive to national development.
Highlighting the significant contributions these organizations have made in education, healthcare, clean water provision among others, Dr. Bawumia argued that the government should instead incentivize their efforts.
He referred to the number of schools, hospitals, and universities that churches and faith-based organizations have built.
He also reminded the public about the number of people the churches and faith-based organizations take care of. Consequently, Dr. Bawumia said the best thing the government can do to empower churches and FBOs is to provide them with incentives.
Dr. Bawumia envisioned a new era of relationship between the church and the state, which he referred to as the ‘Golden Age of State and Church Relationship.’
Speaking to the clergy at Nalerigu in the North East Region as part of his nationwide campaign tour, the Vice-President highlighted the pivotal role that the Church and FBOs play in maintaining the social fabric and moral compass of the country. He explained that the incentives could manifest as import subsidies for projects such as school and hospital construction.
He clarified that his jest about paying churches was intended to emphasize the need to support them and FBOs to enhance their developmental efforts.
“People are talking about taxing churches. We would not tax churches. Because if you look at the work the churches have done, then I was joking that maybe we should have actually paid them for what they did, not really trying to tax them. But I wasn’t saying we should pay churches. I’m saying that we should give incentives to churches to do more,” he clarified.
Dr. Bawumia reiterated his commitment to forging a strong partnership with FBOs for national development if elected President in the December 7 general elections.
According to him, deepening the partnership between the church and the state would accelerate national development, necessitating the need to encourage and incentivize the churches and FBOs.
He emphasized that Ghana would struggle without their presence. He affirmed that the government would provide the necessary incentives to support the church in its national development agenda.
“I also want to have a golden age of a relationship between government and the church and faith-based organizations. I believe the church is the foremost development partner of government. Look at the number of schools, hospitals, and universities the churches and faith-based organizations have built. The number of people the churches and faith-based organizations take care of,” he emphasized. “Can you imagine, just take a thought for a moment that you wake up tomorrow and all the schools, universities, and hospitals the churches have built disappear? What would Ghana be like? Ghana will collapse, isn’t it? We will not survive in this sort of situation because there would be chaos,” he added.
Dr. Bawumia noted that while the government has historically provided incentives for external development partners, it is equally vital to view churches and FBOs as internal development partners deserving of incentives.
“When we talk about our external development partners, we are giving them all sorts of import exemptions, but when we talk about our internal development partners like the churches or faith-based organizations, we don’t give them any exemptions, but they do more in terms of development than any of our external development partners. So I’m saying that we should do more in the areas of incentives such as tax exemptions on import duties when you are coming to build hospitals or schools and so on to support the churches and the other faith-based organizations because they are supporting government,” he stated.

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