The Presiding Bishop of Full Gospel Church International (FGCI), Rt. Rev. Samuel Noi Mensah is calling for a shift in the discourse in directly taxing the church, to taxing the business aspect of the church.
His comment is occasioned by recent move by government to tax churches whose activities are deemed ‘’money making’’. The move, according to government forms part of measures to rake in the needed revenue for the country’s development agenda.
Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Kofi Nti in a recent media interview observed that, the Authority will soon conduct investigations into the activities of churches in the country; a move which will consequently inform on which churches to bring into the tax net. The Authority as part of its investigative role is also offering to pay 25 per cent of penalty against churches that hide, to informants who blow the whistle.
But government’s new policy since its announcement has been met with heavy opposition from a section of the public who have described it as unfair, owing to the fact that the church as an organization is not a money making venture.
Commenting on the development on News Wire on Radio XYZ 93.1MHz Friday evening, Rt. Rev. Noi Mensah avowed that “we need to understand that the church is an NGO, it’s a voluntary organization which is a non-profit organization and therefore you cannot tax a non-profit organization, according to our laws, and most often that is what prevails in international laws. However, the business part of the church should be taxed; in other words if the church is involved in an income generation activity, that aspect needs to be taxed.”
The passionate preacher of the gospel and leadership development consultant who is also noted for his philosophical thought on national issues called for separating the business aspect from the voluntary faith based organization core functions of the church. According to him, church offerings which are often meant for the purposes of spreading the gospel and maintaining the church is totally different from when one is selling anointing oil for instance, and making profit from it.
“Whether the person is selling frytol or olive oil and making an income and profit, that aspect must be taxed; it is totally different from the church collections or offerings,” he opined.
Rt. Rev. Noi Mensah also called for spreading the conversation wider to include other religious faiths whose activities may somewhat be described as ‘’money making’’. To this effect, he is proposing a change of name from Church Tax to Religious Tax, which would incorporate all other religions such as Islamic and traditional religions.
Story by: Charles Akrofi/Myxyzonline.com/93.1MHz/Ghana