General News of Wednesday, 2 July 2014
A member of government's communications team has largely blamed Ghanaians for government's inability to pay workers and meet other statutory payments.
NDC's Sam George told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, government cannot pay salaries because majority of Ghanaians don't pay taxes.
His comment follows a demonstration organised by the Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance (CGRG). The group made up of mainly middle-class Ghanaians, petitioned President John Mahama over worsening economic conditions in the country.
They were armed with a litany of concerns such as constant increments in utility tariffs, erratic supply of electricity, the frequent increase in the prices of petroleum products and the government’s inability to make statutory payments on time to schools, health facilities and other state institutions, to effectively carry out their duties.
Although the President has assured Ghanaians he is listening, other government officials such as the Minister of Foreign Affairs have scoffed the protest.
Speaking to the concerns, Sam George explained that a sizeable number of people in the country evade taxes. He said only 1.2 million Ghanaians pay taxes out of 8 million working citizens. The majority of people constituting the 1.2 million are government employees, he asserted.
"We are the problem," he said, and called on Ghanaians to meet their constitutional obligations to pay their taxes.
Two protesters during the Occupy Flagstaff House march expressed surprise at the communicator's comments and stated they pay their taxes.They wondered how government could fail to pay its bills despite collecting taxes on a daily basis.
The middle-class protesters also complained about the practical relevance of Ghana's middle-income status.
"What were we celebrating under our middle-class status? As a middle-income status, I expect a certain level of governance," she said.
A protester, Sara Asafu Adaye who lives in Osu, lamented that "in 2008, I had water, in 2012 it dropped to three times a week. In 2014, I have no water. I just want water".