General News of Thursday, 14 April 2005
Koforidua, April 14, GNA - The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has requested the government to review tax and levies component on petroleum prices announced in February, this year, to make the product affordable for all sectors of the society.
The body asked the government to reduce in particular the Social Impact Mitigation Levy on premium petrol, the Distributors Margins and the levies on Kerosene and Premix fuel and Liquefied Petroleum Gas. The Secretary General of the TUC, Mr Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, announced these when addressing a joint meeting of the Eastern Regional and the New Juaben District Council of Labour at Koforidua on Wednesday, as part of his nationwide interaction with TUC branches to discuss national issues.
He said the TUC had been meeting government since the price increases to impress on the authorities to review the upward adjustment of petroleum prices.
Mr Adu-Amankwah said the Congress felt that such a measure was necessary because "at time of spiralling international crude oil pricing, it is untenable for the government to impose 42.8 per cent of taxes and levies on petroleum products alone."
He said: "We are demanding that the government find other sources of taxation to finance its development budget instead of lumping much of it on fuel prices".
Mr Adu-Amankwah briefed the meeting on the various components of the fuel price increases and said the TUC expressed concern that the pattern of national indirect taxation was being tilted to favour certain social sectors.
He, therefore, called for a "tax cap to be put on a volatile consumption product" such as fuel through consultation with stakeholders.
On the issue of a living wage regime for the country, Mr Adu-Amankwah said the Tripartite Committee had, this year, charged its Technical Sub-Committee to undertake further research into the issue to advise it.
The Eastern Regional Secretary of the TUC, Ms Francisca Borkor Bortey said some of the emerging industrial disputes were due to the misinterpretation of labour laws by management of some working entities. She said some of them had "manufactured" their own interpretation of provisions of the Laws, which tended to bring misunderstanding between employers and workers.
Ms Bortey expressed dissatisfaction about the exploitative tendencies of employers in the name of offering employment to people, and warned such people to treat their workers humanely or face the law. She urged people seeking employment to demand appointment letters stating their conditions of service and urged all workers to join trade unions so that they could be protected against any "blatant exploitation."
Ms Bortey appealed to workers not to stigmatise people living with HIV/AIDS and urged Ghanaians to go for voluntary counselling and testing to enable them to know their status regarding the disease. Some of the workers called for regular communication between the national leadership and District Councils of Labour to keep them abreast with national issues.