Killer Taxes Must Go-TUC Insists

Organised labour on demonstration

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) says it will not allow government to continue to rake in more revenue through taxes at the expense of a collapsing industrial sector.

Secretary General of TUC, Kofi Asamoah said the recent hikes in utility prices and fuel cannot be allowed to stand when businesses are falling under a precariously harsh economic conditions.

He reiterated the readiness of Ghanaian workers to pour onto the streets for a massive demonstration on Wednesday.

The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) in December last year announced a 67% and 59% increase in water and electricity tariffs respectively.

Early this year, there have been a number of taxes introduced by government, part of which is supposed to be used to defray debts owed by utility providers.

The most controversial of the taxes was the energy sector levy which led to an average increase in petroleum products of about 28 percent.

Kofi Asamoah said with the introduction of the energy sector levy, the prices of electricity have gone up even beyond the 59 percent.

Government, in justifying the need to impose the levies, said it has to pay debts and raise enough money to solve pertinent issues, including the power crisis.


But speaking on Joy FM’s Newsfile programme Kofi Asamoah said government has left them with no choice but to hit the streets to press home their demand for a decrease in the announced hikes.

Two separate meetings between labour and government to find an amicable solution to the problem have all hit a snag.

Kofi Asamoah said labour wanted government to reduce water and electricity to 50 percent each and in addition scrap completely the Energy Sector Levy.

Government and other stakeholders, including Parliament, have been appealing to the workers to rescind their decision and return to the negotiation table.

But Mr Asamoah said workers would stop the demonstration if government agrees to the TUC proposal.

For now the workers are eager to hit the streets on Wednesday to demand reduction in the “killer taxes.”

The traditional routes for demonstrations in Ghana have been agreed with the police, Mr Asamoah indicated.

He said the workers had initially planned on holding a back-to-back demonstration, but the security forces complained it will be Herculean task.

So they have agreed that the demonstration will run concurrently across all regional capitals.