New tax regime makes it difficult for workers to live honestly on their income- Labour Expert

A labour expert is backing a planned demonstration and strike by labour if government fails to review the army of taxes it has imposed on utilities and fuel.

Mr Danso Acheampong says the stance taken by labour is non-negotiable because they “cannot be asked to tighten their belts when government [officials] finds other means of opening theirs.”

He said given the taxes imposed by government it is “difficult for people to live honestly on their income.”

The Public Utility and Regulatory Commission late last year announced a 59 per cent hike in water prices whilst electricity went up by 67 per cent.

As if that was not enough, the Oil Marketing Companies on January 1, 2016 announced between 18-30 per cent hikes in fuel prices following the introduction in Parliament of a new tax – the energy sector levy.

With the hikes in fuel prices, commercial drivers are preparing to announce hikes in transport fares as well.

The cumulative effect of these taxes means an increase in the cost of living for most workers.

The General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU), Solomon Kotei told Joy News the taxes unleashed on workers are unbearable.

Contributing to the discussion, Mr Acheampong said the government is mandated by the constitution to run the economy in a way that will make a good number of people comfortable.

“The State shall take all necessary action to ensure that the national economy is managed in such a manner as to maximize the rate of economic development and to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every person in Ghana and to provide adequate means of livelihood and suitable employment and public assistance to the needy,” he quoted portions of Article 36 of the Directive Principles of State Policy as saying.

Mr Acheampong expressed total surprise with the increase in fuel prices especially at a time when prices of the commodity are falling across the globe.

He said with the reduction of prices of crude oil most economies are improving and wondered why that of Ghana should be severely challenged.

He said when the price of oil is increased all other things are increased and urged government to be a lot more sensitive to the plight of Ghanaians.

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