In an interview likely to become controversial, President John Dramani Mahama has described the arrangement under which presidents are exempt from paying taxes ï¿½unfairï¿½.
He said ï¿½The President must set the example by being the first to pay tax.ï¿½
In an exclusive interview with ï¿½Africa Watchï¿½, President Mahama said ï¿½the constitution says the President should not pay tax on his or her income. So the Presidents salary is not subject to taxes. I believe it is unfair.
He expressed the hope that the constitutional review process will change this arrangement and subject the earnings of Presidents to taxation.
On his personal situation, he said "Iam the son of a farmer and I enjoy farming. I have a farm and I earn income from my farm. I also earn money from family properties that were left to us by my father.
ï¿½I have also published a book. All of these bring me additional income other than my salary as president.ï¿½
According to him, on becoming President, he sought the advice of lawyers and they told him that while his salary was constitutionally exempt from taxes, any additional income was subject to tax.
He said ï¿½I dutifully declared those incomes and paid tax on them.
ï¿½A few all knowing people criticized me and questioned why I was earning extra-income aside from my salary and why I was paying tax. Isnï¿½t that interesting?ï¿½ he asked.
The issue of Presidentsï¿½ being exempt from paying taxes has been a controversial one for a very long time. Some firmly believe that Presidents as high earners need to pay more taxes than poor people.
It has also been argued that Presidents as leaders need to set the example by paying taxes on all their earnings.
Source: The Insight
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