Consumers of the locally prepared alcoholic drink, Akpeteshie, will now pay more for the commodity following the approval last Friday by Parliament of a 20 per cent tax on it.
The approval came after a heated debate, stirred by an amendment bill proposed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Nsuta-Kwamang, Kwame Osei-Prempeh, to remove the 20 per cent duty imposed on Akpeteshie in the bill.During the debate, MPs from both sides were caught in the crossfire of words on the imposition of duty in the proposed amendment bill.
And trivial as some may consider it, it was an issue that was debated with passion from members on both sides of the House.While the Minority side argued against the imposition of the duty, the Majority argued for its imposition.
The Minority had based their argument on the need to encourage the local producers and make the drink affordable for the ordinary Ghanaian, but the Majority dwelt on the health implications of Akpeteshie consumption and the need to introduce a tax that would regulate its consumption.
Mr Osei-Prempeh argued strongly that a tax on Akpeteshie would be directly passed on to the poor consumers in the society and reduce their ability to purchase the drink.
The MP for Tamale South, Mr Haruna Iddrisu said the duty imposed was a prohibitive one to discourage the consumption of Akpeteshie because of the harm it could cause to consumers.He wondered why a "convert" of the Seventh Day Adventist Church would attempt to promote alcoholism, a statement that drew a sharp rebuttal from the sponsor of the proposed amendment, Mr Osei-Prempeh.
"I don't drink," Mr Osei-Prempeh hit back, and explained that although he was not a patron of alcoholic drinks or beverages he shared the concerns of the ordinary folks and dismissed suggestions that anybody who took alcohol was an alcoholic.The Minority Chief Whip, Frederick Opare-Ansah, made a plea to his colleagues not to impose the duty to save the poor consumers from high prices of the drink should the tax be imposed.
But the MP for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini, disagreed with that position and argued for the imposition of the duty as a way to regulate its consumption.
He stated that it was important to take the welfare of Ghanaians into consideration when coming out with bills, stressing that the imposition of the duty was in the interest of Ghanaians.When the voice vote was taken the will of the Majority prevailed.
The House also approved a 20-per cent duty on all mineral water brands after it had again voted against a proposed amendment of the bill by Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh for a 10 per cent duty instead of 20 per cent.
Source: Daily Graphic
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