General News of Sunday, 5 March 2017
Traders at the central business district are unhappy that government singled-out head porters (Kayayei) in the soon to be implemented exemption from market tolls.
According to them, they all do business in the market and are therefore asking that the gesture is extended to them as well.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Attah, announced the abolishment of market tolls being paid by Kayayei to the various local assemblies.
This was part of the listed eight taxes that would be abolished in 2017 as announced in the Akufo-Addo maiden budget presented to Parliament on Thursday.
The taxes which include duties on spare parts importation, 17.5 percent VAT on domestic tickets and Kayayei levy among others, are aimed at easing the difficulties in the economy, the Minister said.
The tax cuts have drawn applause from sections of Ghanaians, especially spare parts dealers at Abossey Okai and the Kayaye Association in Kumasi.
Kayaye Association’s General Secretary, Amadu Aminu told Joy News they will be meeting to decide how to celebrate what he described as the “good news” from government.
“For the past years the ‘paaopa levy’ has been a very big headache to the leadership, and we have moved across borders to get something done but our efforts did not yield any results,” he said.
But former Accra Mayor, Mr Oko Vanderpuije who also doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma South said the President has been unfair to local government authorities for scrapping the levy.
“If you segregate and say a Kayayei levy would not be there, everybody would know that when they work in the market, government would support by not taking tolls from them,” he said.
This, the traders are in agreement as they say the relief only seeks to tax support a section of the people who also work and benefit from the market.
“They say the Kayayei should pay the levy so we won’t also pay, if they are discriminating then we won’t agree as we all voted for Nana Akufo-Addo. Dr Bawumia should fix this; if the head porters are not paying, we won’t also pay,” a trader told Joy News’ Zarina Amandi.
Some traders who were uncharitable with their criticism of the announcement and in some cases taken their frustrations on the Kayayei.
“If they don’t want the head porters to pay the levy, then they should leave the market,” another trader said.
The Traders are therefore calling on government to abolish their levy, claiming the Kayayei are not in any way better than them.
Oblivious to the criticisms, the Kayayei are looking forward to not paying the levy as they say it is such a welcomed relief.