Labour to hold crunch meeting over killer taxes

Labour has scheduled a crucial meeting Thursday to discuss a plan of action against what it describes as killer taxes and hikes in utility prices by government.

The workers gave government a one week ultimatum to reduce the avalanche of taxes announced at the tail end of last year, failure which they will advise themselves.

Government has yet to announce any reduction of the taxes. If anything, the president in a press encounter on Tuesday, said Ghana was still paying far lower taxes as compared to its peers in the lower middle income bracket.

In December the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) announced a 60% hike in electricity and 57% hike in water prices.

Not long after, prices of petroleum products were increased by an average of 30 per cent following the introduction of the energy sector levy. There were also increases in income taxes as well.

The cumulative effect of these taxes is a rise in the cost of living of workers most of whom have been angered by the taxes.

But President John Mahama insisted Ghana was still paying lower taxes as compared to Kenya and other countries.

He explained the country’s key energy institution -Volta River Authority- is saddled with so much debt that the citizenry must help in paying the debt.

But Labour is neither amused by the increases in taxes nor the president’s comments.

The General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union Solomon Kotei says the president must tell Ghanaians how much debt has been accrued and what will be the tenure of payment.

He said Ghanaians cannot be asked to pay a debt they do not know about nor have any idea how long they will be paying the same debt.

He cited a similar case with the TOR recovery levy which was imposed on fuel products ostensibly to defray a debt accrued to TOR.

Solomon Kotei said even when the debt had been cleared Ghanaians were still paying the levy.
He said members of the labour union will be having a crunch meeting tomorrow to agree on what to do if the government fails to reduce the taxes.

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