It is still early days for anyone to talk about the state of Ghana in the New Year 2024 but since the Government has presented its 2024 budget to Parliament, it will be sensible for the citizenry to talk and speculate on the effect of the 2024 budget on their lives.
Presenting the 2024 budget to Parliament, one thing that caught the attention of the citizenry was the introduction of 15 percent (15%) Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity consumption.
Electricity problem has become a topical issues since the 4th Republic and in recent times after the Akufo Addo /NPP administration assumed office, but ironically, the NPP administration is blaming the John Dramani Mahama/ NDC administration for the country’s electricity problem, accusing it of signing on excess power agreements that has forced the current administration to pay for power the country doesn’t need.
But the question a section of Ghanaians are asking is, if we have excess power and we are paying for it, why are we not making use of the excess power and the country is experiencing power cuts (‘Dumsor’) or power shortages?
Government sources indicate the Ministry of Finance is cash strapped and is unable to meet its obligations to power producing companies and this formed the basis for the introduction of the 15% VAT to generate more funds to meet the payments accrued to the power producers.
The introduction of 15% VAT on electricity, has not been received well by the people of Ghana, especially the Trades Union Congress (TUC), who this week, have given Government up to the 31st of January, 2024 to withdraw the VAT or face the wrath of the workers.
A letter from the Ministry of Finance to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO), the two companies are requested to liaise with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to ensure the implementation of the 15% VAT for residential consumers of electricity, above the maximum consumption level specified for block charges for lifeline unites to take effect 1st January 2024.
Per the Finance Ministry’s letter, the GRA is to ensure the ECG and NEDCO comply by transferring revenue collected from the implementation of the 15% VAT to the consolidated fund.
But the TUC does not want to hear any of the Government’s explanation and is demanding the Ministry of Finance withdraw the 15% VAT. As to whether the TUC would carry out its threats, it’s yet to be seen.
To Add to the current woes of the Government is the strike by Senior staff of public Universities in the country, coupled with the TUC’s threat, it seems there is going to be an avalanche of strikes, with Government and workers determined for a showdown.
In the face of the TUC’s ultimatum to the Government, the administration seems to be boxed into a corner with the UTAG and TEWU strikes already on going. The Government cannot afford a nationwide strike as the TUC is threatening and must find a solution as soon as possible.
Ghana has become a pawn in the hands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), they have led us to borrow so much now we cannot pay our creditors and have become the only institution our creditors listen to when we are in need of funds.
Ghana has been with the IMF since the 1980s, there hasn’t been a period any Ghanaian administration can boldly say, our Economy has improved with our visit to the IMF.
Today, the IMF is at it again, after boxing us into a corner and pinned to the wall, they are telling us what they think is good for us and the Akufo Addo /NPP administration is sheepishly going along, forcing this 15% VAT on electricity.
Again, the question Ghanaians are asking is, did we go to the IMF to extend our suffering or we went to the IMF to get some relief to better our standard of living?
The Akufo Addo/Mahamudu Bawumia led NPP administration doesn’t seem to have any foresight because ever since they assumed office, they have administered the country as if there is no tomorrow.
This government came to power riding on the back of the Ashanti Region because it is their stronghold and all the rigging in the 2016 and the 2020 elections were carried out basically in their stronghold the Ashanti Region.
Common sense should have told them this is where our concentration should be since if all the regions fail the party, Ashanti Region will still stand with us but no, they have deliberately denied the region the development they need most, with the once Garden city of Ghana, now reduced to the shantytown of Ghana.
As if that was not enough, the regional Chairman of the NPP in the region, Bernard Antwi Boasiako, aka Chairman Wontumi, has called the bluff of the King of the region, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll, saying he has his own kingdom with personal soldiers and Police and has the right to speak if he disagree with the Otumfuo.
Our elders say “when the gods want to kill you, they first make you mad”. This is exactly what is happening to the Akufo Addo led NPP. How do you bite the finger that feeds you? Arrogance, pride, political power and over confidence, is what is driving these people to disrespect the King of the Ashantis.
It is unheard of that a son of the Ashanti land would stand up to the Otumfuo, seeking to belittle the authority of the Golden Stool.
The Chiefs want the Asantehene to ban all campaign activities of the party in the region as a punishment of the party for protecting the regional Chairman and not producing him before the Asanteman Council.
Apart from seeking to reprimand the NPP and its Ashanti Regional Chairman, who is currently on the run, the Asanteman Chiefs are also calling on Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll, to close down a local Radio and Television stations based in Kumasi, the capital of the region and belonging to Mr. Antwi Boasiako..
How is the NPP going to break the eight (8), is the question party sympathizers and supporters in the region are asking, if the NPP should lose their grip on the Ashanti Region because of the utterances of the party’s Chairman? Ashantis love their KING and would not disrespect him for anything in this world.
Source – Jojo Bruce-Quansah