God blessed us with low crude oil prices; we have to pay more taxes- Mahama

President John Mahama says Ghanaians are paying far lower taxes than they ought to pay as a middle income country.

Addressing journalists in Accra on a wide range of issues, the president said Ghana, compared to other lower middle income country is paying lower taxes for the development of the country.

“For the status at which we are as a lower middle income country our level of taxes to revenue should be at 22 per cent. Currently Ghana is at between 17 and 18 percent. So if you compare us to an economy like Kenya, Kenya is extracting more revenue in terms of taxes than we are,” he said.

He was quick to add though that government will improve on the efficiency in collecting taxes rather than imposing new ones.

His comments come at a time when government during the Christmas and new year celebration imposed more taxes on fuel, incomes etc., a development which has increased the cost of living.

With crude oil prices falling at a record low of 37 dollars per barrel in over 11 years many a Ghanaian expected that the government will reduce the price of the commodity on the local market in line with the automatic fuel adjustments so that in the event the prices rise on the international market the prices could be increased on the local market.

Bernard Avle of Citi FM did not understand why the prices of fuel products on the local market will go up to about 30 per cent when crude oil prices had fallen to a record low.

But the president said the issue is not that simple. According to him, the Volta River Authority, has been choked with so much debt, more taxes have to be imposed on the citizens to defray the debt.

“At the time when God has blessed us to have the price go down 37 per cent and we are still even 11 per cent lower we take a little money and say let’s all contribute and pay off this debt because we all used that power that VRA generated. I don’t see what really we have done wrong,” he stated.

He said a portion will go to the taxes will go into road fund to pay arrears to contractors.

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