Business News of Monday, 24 September 2018
The Trades Union’s Congress (TUC), is asking the Akuffo-Addo government to review a number of taxes that contribute to the astronomical increases in the prices of petroleum products.
It also wants pragmatic steps taken to strengthen the Ghana cedi against other major currencies.
These demands by TUC come at a time when there is public uproar over the high cost of fuel in the country.
Fuel prices have hit the 5 cedi mark with diesel going for GHc5.18 pesewas per litre, and petrol 5.14 per litre; a situation which has forced many stakeholders to call for the scrapping of the special petroleum tax. But according to TUC, the depreciation of the cedi and numerous taxes by government are to blame for the expensive fuel regime.
In a statement, the Union said the time has come for government to review its tax imposition and adopt measures that will stabilize the cedi to relief Ghanaians from the untold hardship the fuel price hikes has brought to them.
“The TUC urges government to scrap some of the taxes on fuel prices to cushion Ghanaians. Also government must look into the various margins and their impact on fuel pricing. At current levels, fuel prices have reached an unstainable peak for Ghanaian workers and their families. As workers, we can longer afford any further increase. Government must do everything it can to halt further increases.
Amewu’s comparison of Nana Addo – Mahama fuel prices misplaced
Energy Minister John Peter Amewu, has said Ghanaians would have been paying eight percent more for fuel if the government had not reduced and scrapped some taxes in the 2017 and 2018 budgets.
He believes that some tax reductions announced by the Akufo-Addo government since it assumed office in 2017, have cushioned Ghanaians against the impact of the fuel price hikes.
This the TUC maintained that was needless because the tenure of the Mahama is over, hence cannot be used to juxtapose the difficulties brought on by the NPP government.
“It is important for government and its functionaries to understand that in dealing with matters as important as fuel prices, we eschew conjectures. The reality is that the Mahama-led administration is no longer in. Akuffo –led administration is in power. And despite the interventions the minister talked about, fuel prices are rising and Ghanaians are unhappy about it. We require leadership and solutions on how to bring down the prices and not sermon on what would have happened if Mahama-led administration were to be in office.
‘We’re taxing responsibly on fuel’ – Amin Adam
A Deputy Minister of Energy, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, has also mentioned that prices of fuel at the pumps would have been much higher than what is being experienced if the Akufo-Addo government had not scrapped some of the taxes on petroleum products.
“We can also generate revenue through taxes, but we are doing it responsibly… We have reduced the total tax component in the petroleum product prices from 40 percent in March 2017 to 26 percent,” he said.
“That is how a responsible government can generate revenue through taxes on petroleum product prices without injuring the welfare of the Ghanaian,” the Deputy Minister assured.
Scrap special petroleum tax to bring fuel prices down – Minority
The Minority in Parliament is demanding the scrapping of the special petroleum tax as a measure to cushion Ghanaians as the prices of petroleum products keep rising.
According to the Minority Spokesperson on Mines and Energy, Adam Mutawakilu, the tax has outlived its usefulness at a time when world market prices allow government to make a windfall of 10 million dollars per day from crude exports.
Mutawakilu also called on President Akufo-Addo to improve the economy in order for Ghanaians not to be burdened excessively by the exchange rate challenges.
There are close to 16 different taxes and levies on petroleum products in Ghana. There have been several advocacy for the scrapping of some of the taxes in the past, but not much has been done about it.
We’re not in crisis; but Ghanaians are in difficulty – Nana Addo
President Nana Akufo-Addo has said he expects the country to be firmly handle the current economic difficulties. Though the President said the country was not at a crisis point, he acknowledged that the average Ghanaian was in difficulty.
“It is not a crisis, but the difficulties that we are going through now are difficulties that the system will be able to accommodate. It has meant some difficulties in the lives of ordinary people in Ghana, but they are events that were out of our control, which we have to find a way to accommodate,” he said at a meeting with the Ghanaian community in New York.