A constitutional law expert, Professor Henry Kwesi Prempeh has taken a swipe at the country’s legislature over its inability to seek the interest of the people in its work.
Commenting on the latest astronomical fuel price increase in the wake of falling crude oil prices, Prof. Prempeh suggested the country’s parliament has become an appendage of the Executive because it has been reduced to merely approving what is presented to it by the government.
“We don’t have a parliament; we have two branches of the executive, one for proposing laws and taxes and loans; the other for dutifully approving them,” he stated in a Facebook post.
Prof. Prempeh was equally not happy about comments made by the Chairman of the Finance committee of Parliament, James Klutse Avedzi, to the effect that those who cannot afford the increment should park their private cars and board commercial cars.
Mr. Avedzi who is the Member of Parliament for Ketu North, said on Tuesday: “In UK, not everyone has a car. Many use public transport. Even if we charge 30% on fuel and you can’t pay just park your car. Once you want to use your private car, then you have to pay,”
But this, Prof. Prempeh finds distasteful. “The Chairman of the Finance committee of Parliament, siding with our tax-and-waste government instead of We the People, has told Ghanaians who think the tax-heavy price of petrol is unbearable to park their cars and walk or get on our non-existent London public transportation,” he adds
That notwithstanding, he said he won’t be surprised to see Mr. Avedzi re-elected in this year’s polls, saying “But he is sure to get re-elected; no wonder he has little incentive to use his position as MP to represent the interest and concerns of We the People, rather than of the government”.
Prof. Prempeh said as long as the country’s elected and appointed public officials are provided free petrol “for both their official and their private/household use,” they will continue to not feel the pain of ordinary Ghanaians when it comes to things like petroleum pricing (taxation).
The passage of the Energy Sector Levy (ESL) by Parliament last December has caused petroleum prices to go up between 22 and 27 per cent at the pumps; something that has triggered criticism from the public.