Outraged Ghanaian workers to hit streets on January 20

Outraged workers of Ghana will on Wednesday January 20, hit the streets again in a nationwide protest over the unbearable cost of living in the country.

The workers are accusing the government of losing touch with the harsh economic realities of the country following the double barreled increases in utility tariffs and taxes.

It will be the second of such nationwide demonstration by workers under the three year tenure of president John Mahama.

The first was in July 2014 when thousands of Ghanaian workers poured onto the streets in anger over the rising cost of living.

Inflation at the time was running at 15% with a 23% removal of subsidy on petroleum products.

The situation has not improved since then. If anything, it has become worse with inflation now at 17.7%.

What has changed significantly is the increase in number and rate of taxes and hikes in utility tariffs.

In December 2015, the PURC announced a 67 and 59 per cent in electricity and water tariffs respectively. There was also the imposition of an energy sector levy which ballooned the prices of petroleum products to an average of 30 per cent.

There was also the increase in income tax. In the midst of increases in taxes and utility prices the allegations of corruption appears to be increasing with some scandals, including a 3.6 million cedis bus branding scandals.

Workers say they have had enough of the taxes and increases in utility prices and want government to reduce the taxes.

A meeting held yesterday with government for the reduction of the taxes and tariffs ended in a deadlock.

Labour wanted utility prices cut down to 50% across board as against the 59% for electricity and 69 for water, but but government insisted on 54%, Joy News’ Kwetey Nartey reported.

They also wanted to have the energy sector levy completely scrapped but government will have none of that.

The workers have vowed to hit the streets on Wednesday to force the hand of government to soften its stance.

TUC Secretary General Kofi Asamoah told the media “we are left with no option than to hit the streets to express outrage.”

“Government has lost touch with the economic realities of the people,” he stated, condemning the hikes in utility prices as well as taxes.

He said after the demonstration they will be gauging government response and are likely to begin a nationwide strike if government remains intransigent.

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