Gov’t’s populist policies not improving living conditions – Minority

The Minority in Parliament says government’s economic policies are failing to improve the living conditions of Ghanaians following reports of 15% increase in transport fares. 

They point to an increasing cost of living since the New Patriotic Party (NPP) took over the reigns of government, citing the latest announcement of increases in transport fares which takes effect on Thursday.

On Monday, Parliament approved an amendment to the Energy Sector Levy Act to cut the Public Lighting Levy by two percent and National Electrification Scheme Levy by three percent.

This is expected to result in a three to five percent reduction in the price of petroleum products and electricity.

Last month, the House approved a reduction in the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products from 17.5 to 15 percent.

Deputy Minority Leader James Klutse Avedzi says the increase in transportation fares is an indication that government’s policies to bring relief to Ghanaians are not working.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament during the final debate on the 2017 budget, the Deputy Minority Leader said the tax cuts will endanger the country’s economy if they are not handled properly.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta announced the abolishment of duty on spare parts and seven other tax cuts when he delivered the 2017 budget statement on March 2.

However, the Ketu North MP says, “If government says it is cutting taxes but the transport fares are going up, then it means it is not going to benefit the people. Ghanaians’ pockets are going to be dry because people need to pay more.

“Government says it is reducing the VAT on petroleum products, it should reflect in fuel prices and then the lorry fares, without that their policies are not making any impact,” he said.  

He questioned what the effects of government’s policies have been on the living conditions of the ordinary Ghanaian adding “NPP should stop this populist policies and strategies. If really you are thinking about the people of Ghana, let it reflect.”

According to Mr Avedzi, although government does not fix transport fares, it has to appeal to the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and other transport companies to ensure that they don’t fix the fares at astronomical levels.

He said the GPRTU and the rest have attributed the increase in fares to an accumulation of an increase in prices of petroleum products and other factors.

The NDC MP admits that government is not directly responsible for the fixing of transport fares but maintained that the previous NDC government was blamed for similar increases and the NPP must take the blame, too.