The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, says it is time to openly have a conversation about whether or not it is appropriate to tax certain activities of churches to generate additional revenue for the country.
According to him, the amount of money churches generate cannot be ignored by the state.
The proposal to tax some activities of churches has in times past been met with stiff opposition from faith-based organisations, who argue that churches are not profit-making entities.
But speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Mr. Ofori-Atta argued that it is time to boldly have a discourse on the matter.
“There has to be a true and honest dialogue, and that is part of the reason why we started this partnership with faith-based organisations as to whether we can get to a point where maybe the issue of paying to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God to what belongs God can apply”.
“If they can be so effective in raising monies for themselves then the state also deserves at least two weeks in a year for that. But that is an open discussion and honest appraisal of who we are as a people, and where we want to go and the sacrifices that come with it,” he stressed.
The Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs Mr. Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, recently debunked reports that government was planning to tax churches.
The Minister clarified that government was planning to rather set up a Charity Commission to examine and audit the humanitarian activities of churches.
He explained that the Commission will check the activities of churches annually to ensure that that they use their financial resources for their intended humanitarian purposes.
It is thus unclear what the official position of government on taxing churches is, considering the different positions of the two ministers of state.