Businesses defy Minister’s plea to halt 3 day strike



The Minister of State at the Presidency in charge of Public Private Partnership, Rashid Pelpuo, is calling on the Joint Private Business Consultative Forum to reconsider its decision to embark on a three day strike beginning today.

According to him, even though government feels the pressure on businesses because of the introduction of new taxes, a strike is not the solution to the problem.

Members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Food and Beverage Importers Association of Ghana, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Customs Brokers Association of Ghana among others, have declared a three day strike beginning today ,February 29, to Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

But Dr. Rashid Pelpuo tells Citi Business News, such increments are aimed at developing the country.

“I can tell you that with all these challenges about taxes compared to the sub region, Ghana’s taxes are still one of the lowest. Besides that, we feel for the private sector and we want to encourage them to invest. We want to create wealth and create value,

“The challenge we have is that, the economy is getting transformed, situations are changing. We are beginning to own our policies and initiatives, rather than an imposition from somewhere, mobilizing resources from within is prime in any economy.” Dr. Pelpuo stated.

He further explained, “We do not want to continue to depend on external borrowing. It has become the hallmark of how we relate to the rest of the world. We want to break that chain and ensure that we mobilize funds from within, and that’s how come in order to mobilize funding, you have to tax the people to do it, but we are taxing in ways that will not cripple businesses.”

Three day strike goes on unabated

Meanwhile the Joint Private Business Consultative Forum insists their strike is as a result of government’s failure to engage them over the introduction of new and increase in existing taxes.

In an interview with Citi Business News, the Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Sampson Asaaki Awingobit said, the strike will not be called off until government listens to them.

“As I speak to you I know that we have done a good job and our people are already standing by to comply and the agents have also heated up. If government had listen to our interviews, we were expecting that even as at today (Monday) they would have had a meeting with us and tell us something better so that things will not get out of hand.”

“I can tell you Ghanaians will suffer, the citizens will suffer ;they will get to the market they would not get anything to buy as they very people who will sell and work for the state to get tax revenue are also being over taxed  or double taxed.” Sampson Awingobit remarked.

“We are not saying all that we are asking for, government should meet us hundred percent but at least we think government should be able to meet us half way and when we jaw-jaw we can call of the strike,” the Importers and Exporters Association scribe added.

By: Norvan Acquah – Hayford/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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