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General News of Sunday, 29 June 2014

Source: myjoyonline.com

Baako flays Gov't: Terrible times to execute tax policies

The Editor in Chief of the Crusading Guide newspaper, Malik Kweku Baako Jnr. Is disappointed with the increase in taxes on goods and services as well as removal of subsidies on a number of products.

Describing the policy as an "octopus taxation policies" being implemented by government, Malik Baako is worried about the cumulative impact of the policies on Ghanaians and wondered if they had the capacity to contain the gravity of the taxes being imposed by government.

Beginning July 1, a number of taxes imposed on goods and services will begin to take effect concurrently.

The new 17.5 per cent bank charges will come into force.

With the partial removal of subsidies on utility and fuel, the prices of water and electricity will go up on July 1. The National Petroleum Authority is also contemplating increasing the prices of fuel same day.

With salaries of workers remaining the same, the impact of these taxes and the removal of subsidies will no doubt affect the cost of living of Ghanaians.

Discussing the issue on Joy FM's Newsfile programme, Kweku Baako Jnr said these are "terrible times to execute such policies."

With the erratic power and water supplies across the country, Baako Jnr struggled to understand why the PURC continuously allow for such increases when there is no commensurate improvement in service delivery.

He said most price increases have had to do with depreciation of the country's currency against the dollar and that is most unfortunate.

Most of the raw materials including crude oil, are mostly purchased in dollars which means lots of cedis would have to be exchanged into dollars before those purchases could be made.

Kweku Baako Jnr noted that Ghanaians cannot continuously be made to suffer for the incompetence of the managers of the economy.

He said the short-term medium taxation policies being implemented by the government has a far reaching implication on the economy and the banking sector.

He said people are beginning to keep their monies at home instead of sending it to the banks for fear of being deducted needless taxes.

Commenting on the recent shortages of fuel, Kweku Baako Jnr said the incident, in the last few days, reminded him of the kalabule days of the late 1970s and early 80s where there was chaos at the fuel stations after weeks of hoarding of the products.

Randy Abbey, an executive member of the Ghana Football Association who was also on the show, did not mince words in describing the blanket implementation of the policy on subsidy as a "lazy man's option.”

He said if appointees would merely go into office to implement a price adjustment formula then there is no need for any appointment- the formula must be made to work on its own.

He said there "must be a middle ground" where "consumers must bear some of the cost" whilst the managers look for more ingenious ways handling the pricing of utility and fuel.

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