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Politics of Friday, 25 February 2022


Let's brace ourselves; life will get tougher, rougher – Otchere-Darko

Leading member  of NPP, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko Leading member of NPP, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko

A leading member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has asked Ghanaians to brace themselves as life is going to get tougher and rougher as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war.

According to Mr. Otchere-Darko, “Markets are whacked, as global stocks and futures tumble, while commodities surge”.

In a Facebook post, President Akufo-Addo’s cousin said Covid-19 and the Russian-Ukraine war is not Africa or Ghana’s doing but “we bear the brunt”.

His post read: “First the COVID-19 pandemic and now war in Ukraine. Neither of these our doing but we bear the brunt. It is only going to get tougher and rougher. Let’s brace ourselves.

“Markets are whacked, as global stocks and futures tumble, while commodities surge. The flight to safety is seeing Treasury yields rising and gold (not bad for Ghana though) hitting the highest since early 2021. The dollar is rising, putting pressure on African currencies especially.

“European natural gas soars as much as 41%, triggering inflation there with ramifications worldwide. Brent crude climbs above $105 a barrel for the first time since 2014, which will certainly lead to higher cost of living here in Ghana and elsewhere.”

His assertion dovetails into Effutu MP Alexander Afenyo-Markin’s statement that the Russia-Ukraine war will affect Ghana’s economy.

Mr. Afenyo-Markin believes that is the more reason to pass the e-levy to enable the government to raise revenue to sustain social interventions in the country.

According to him, the call to evacuate Ghanaians in Ukraine will come at a cost to the state and put more burden on already-scarce resources, hence the need to look at innovative ways to generate revenue, i.e. e-levy.

Mr. Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin believes the Russia-Ukraine war will affect imports and exports, as well as the cedi because businesses will no longer be able to import from Europe, grow, and pay their taxes which will ultimately affect the country’s economy.

In his view, the passage of the e-levy in these “abnormal times” is the best way to raise revenue for the country’s development.

Speaking on the floor of parliament on Thursday, 24 February 2022, the deputy majority leader said: “Mr. Speaker, the call to evacuate Ghanaian citizens from Ukraine will come at a cost, no European country will evacuate our citizens for us, NATO will not do that…"

“There’s going to be pressure on the limited resources that we have and, as a nation, Ghanaian businesses who are supposed to do well to pay taxes ... are going to suffer; their businesses will not do well the way they expect".

“Their projections will be affected that is the reality and I must bring this to the attention of all of us so that any policy that will be brought will be seen in that light…if [sic] you are talking about e-levy, this is the more important reason why we even need it.”

“We should congregate around it and find a way of generating revenue as a country to save the situation because we are not in normal times,” he added.

He said this was not the time for partisan politics but the time for the Majority and Minority to work together.

E-levy is a proposed 1.75 percent tax on all electronic transactions.

A section of Ghanaians including the Minority in parliament have kicked against its passage describing it as daylight robbery which will burden the ordinary Ghanaian.

The government, however, insists it is the only way to raise enough revenue to prevent a return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and also to prevent the economy from collapsing.