The Lead Pastor of the Cedar Mountain Assemblies of God Church, East Legon, in Accra Rev. Stephen Yenusom Wengam believes it will be unfair to tax churches in Ghana.
The debate over whether or not to tax tithes and offerings or collections at churches has been raging on for years now without any clear direction. The Christian Council of Ghana has kicked against the idea, arguing the state must first tax political parties and old student associations before shifting the pendulum on the House of God.
Tithes which is an act of faith, is a donation of 10 percent of one’s salary to God. It is practiced by many Christians including the 19 churches under the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), an umbrella group that unites 19 churches in Ghana. The Council has its members from Charismatic, Pentecostal, Orthodox and other churches.
Proponents in favour of the motion have maintained tithes are not gifts and should fall under taxable incomes.
However, touching on the issue, Rev. Wengam opines the Church is doing more than what taxes can cover hence it will be inconsequential to tax churches.
“Churches must not pay tax,” the former Chairman of the Ghana Prisons Service Council told Bola Ray on Starr Chat Wednesday.
According to him, “we do pay taxes already and our accounts departments take care of it. We are not a profit making body.”
Rev. Wengam enumerated a number of social projects his church has been embarking on, saying a lot of churches also have special projects aimed at alleviating the plight of the deprived, therefore the Church must not be seen as a money-making machine.
“We embark on a lot of corporate social responsibilities. We are not a profit making institution so why should you tax us?” the 45-year-old preacher asked his host Bola Ray.
As the chairman of the Ghana Prisons Service Council the Project “Efiase”, which is a 10-year development plan of the Prisons Service took off. The aim of the project is to make prisons in the country and correctional homes places for reformation, rehabilitation and productivity rather than places for retribution only.
Born to the late Mr Matthew Wengam and Mrs Deborah Wengam, Rev. Wengam holds a BSc. Administration (Marketing) degree from the University of Ghana, Legon; a Diploma in Theology from the Northern Ghana Bible College, Kumbungu; Diploma in Clinical Christian Counselling, and a Master’s Degree in Theology from the International Theological Seminary, USA.
Rev. Wengam who hails from Paknatik in the Bunkpurugu Yoyoo District of the Northern Region has worked as a pastor, youth leader, campus Christian fellowship leader, and has been Associate Pastor for several branches of the Assemblies of God Church in the country.
He is also the West Africa Coordinator of Global Leadership Training, USA; a Board Member of Meaningful Life International; Patron of the Immigration Ladies Association of the Ghana Immigration Service, patron of the Korle-Bu Youth Choir and Campus Pastor of the Assemblies of God Campus Ministry.
Known as the ‘Bishop of the Airwaves’, Rev. Wengam is the host of This is your Day, a family morning devotion programme that runs from Monday to Saturday on an Accra-based radio station, Citi FM.
Rev. Wengam is married to Monica with two children.