General News of Tuesday, 25 September 2018
There is mounting pressure on government to remove taxes on the petroleum price build-up in order to reduce the prices of petroleum products and the rising cost of living in the country.
Critics say the move will stabilize prices of petroleum products which have been skyrocketing ever since the cedi took a free fall in the last few weeks.
The Ghana Federation of Labour is threatening massive demonstration if the government fails to heed to the call for a reduction in the taxes.
The exchange rate, taxes and cost of crude oil on the international market are the three major components for petroleum pricing in Ghana.
With a deregulation policy in place, if the cedi falls, more cedi is needed to buy the crude oil which is priced in dollars and which automatically leads to an increase in the prices of the commodity.
If the prices of crude oil rise on the international market, the price of the local commodity also shoots up on the local market.
The only thing that is stable and which government has complete control over is the taxes on the petroleum products. But taxes on petroleum are a major source of revenue for the government.
The cedi is now inching close to five cedis to a dollar. The price of crude oil has also shot up from $45.00 per barrel in 2016 to almost $70.00 in 2018.
The combined effect of the fall in cedi and the rise in crude oil prices have been hardship triggered by hikes in petroleum products.
Petrol is now selling at 5.12 cedis per liter at the pumps, up from some 4.20 cedis per liter in the beginning of the year.
This has led to increases in transport fares.
Businessmen, women, transport operators, passengers, market women have been complaining of the rising cost of living due to the alarming fall in the cedi.
Checks by Joy News at several markets in the capital show a steady rise in prices of commodities with market women appealing to the government to intervene in the prices of petroleum.
Selinam Ampo visited the Mallam Atta market and reports the situation is dire.
They say it costs more to transport their foodstuffs from the farms to the market, yet when they bring it their wares are not patronized because people do not have money to buy.
Meanwhile, the Trades Union Congress is asking the government to scrap the taxes driving up the price of petroleum products.
In a statement issued Monday, the labour union reminded the Nana Akufo-Addo government that it promised to abolish the taxes during the 2016 electioneering campaign.
The government on assumption of office reduced the taxes but the Labour Union insists a complete scrap of the taxes introduced by the John Mahama government in 2015-16 is the way to go.
The Ghana Federation of Labour says workers have protested enough but government has yet to heed to their calls.
Abraham Koomson, who heads the Federation says they are contemplating organizing a massive demonstration in order to force the hand of government to remove some of the taxes on the petroleum products.
He told Joy News’ Emefa Apawu they will soon meet with members to plan the demonstration.