The National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for Sagnarigu Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini has said the minority in Parliament cannot be blamed for the proposed tariff increase in the telecommunications sector.
The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) following the announcement of the proposed telecom tariff increment faulted the entire Parliament for the development.
The upward adjustment of the tariff will take effect on November 1, the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications notified Wednesday in a statement on behalf of AirtelTigo, MTN and Vodafone.
The tariff medications, according to the chamber aims at giving “effect to the conversion of National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) and GETFund Levy (GETFL) into levies that are not subject to the input-output mechanism, and delinking them from VAT by removing the option of input tax deductibility, thereby giving both levies a unique and different legal identity and distinguished from VAT.
Speaking to Starr Today’s Atiewin Mbillah-Lawson, the Sagnarigu lawmaker rejected as “grossly unfair” the CPA’s attempt to blame both the minority and majority side of the lawmaking chamber.
He said before the mid-year budget review the minority held a press conference where it unequivocally laid bare the government’s intention to increase the rate of Value Added Tax (VAT).
“There was a clear denial that government did not intend to even tinker with the VAT at all. When eventually the Finance Minister came and did the presentation, we tried to point out that the VAT rate would definitely go up and that it would have a significant impact on the cost of living and reflection in the lives of Ghanaians,” he stated.
He continued: “the majority in the government indicated that no such thing would happen and that we were only naysayers and a bunch of doomsayers who were not conversant and didn’t know what was happening with the management of the economy.”
“Today, as we speak we are being vindicated because the conversion of the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) and the GETFund levy, these were 2.5 per cent, 2.5percent each as a VAT. They were converted into a flat levy, specific levy. We had warned that that kind of conversion was going to have the intended effect of raising the level of tax incidence on the consumer.
“We were told that these were naysayers and a bunch of mischief makers because we have pointed clearly that it is the ordinary Ghanaian at the end of the day who would feel the full brunt of that action of government.
“This is a deliberate act of government. So let nobody come and say that it is the parliament as a whole. Because the government has the majority in parliament, they simply used their majority to get it passed. But, we in the minority are on record of having opposed it,” he added.