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PRESS STATEMENT: AFAG Condemns Recent Tax Increases   
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The Alliance for Accountable Governance wishes to express its utmost dismay at the continued insensitivity to the plight of the ordinary Ghanaians by the President Mills’ NDC government.

It is shocking that in the midst of an already harsh economic environment, the Mills led administration could proceed to increase taxes, levies and charges on almost all day to day commodities and services.

It must be stated that AFAG last year predicted harsher times in our Press Statement in December 2009. AFAG cautioned government on the dangers of embarking on such adventure at a time of economic downturn when the populace is being overburdened and the poor stretched to their limits as service providers are naturally transferring cost to them.

As we speak, road tolls have been increased by over a 1000%; taxes on various basic commodities such as water have all been increased drastically while the fees charged by almost all government departments and agencies have also been raised.

Notably among them is the vehicle license and examination authority (DVLA). As if this is not enough, the Mills led government is preparing to deepen the woes of the long suffering people of Ghana as it is considering raising utility bills especially that of Electricity in the region of 347%.

This is against the backdrop of the NDC’s promise, while campaigning for the 2008 elections, to lessen the hardships faced by Ghanaians and to ensure that money is put in the pockets of the ordinary Ghanaian. Clearly, Ghanaians are witnessing the sharp opposite.

NDC manifesto under the theme two (FISCAL POLICY), states that, “the new NDC government will not introduce any new taxes. Instead, we shall seek to improve tax revenue by introducing reforms in the tax administration, shifting from reliance on direct taxes to indirect taxes and enhancing tax incentives’. What has happened to the call to address the so called ‘inimical tax regime”?

These developments to AFAG and indeed the ordinary Ghanaian, have not only made the living conditions unbearable but are signs of the insensitivity and hypocrisy of the current government and it is time Ghanaians in unison devoid of political bias or divisions told the President and his government that we can no longer be taken for a ride.

The Alliance is fully conscious of the need to mobilize internal resources for our Nation’s development but we are also fully aware that if this government backtracks from the profligacy with which it has come to be associated, if it puts in place progressive economic policies and manages the same effectively, enough resources would be saved for the government to pursue its development agenda.

AFAG is of the conviction that, there is too much waste in the management of our resources and believes that if the billions of the tax payer’s money being spent on tea Parties, renovation and renting of bungalows and the purchase of vehicles are stopped the government would have enough to develop our dear country and fulfill its promises.

In addition, we believe that billions can be saved for National Development should the government decide to offer bonded cars for the right prices than the pittance it is going for at the moment.

Sadly however, this government has proven incapable of such tasks and has rather chosen regrettably to burden the poor Ghanaian with the cost of its profligacy and mismanagement.

As a Policy Advocacy Group dedicated to the establishment of Good Governance and Accountability, we do not wish to sit unconcerned while hardship is being piled on the Ghanaian, we are therefore asking Government with immediate effect revise downwards the recent increases in the Road tolls, charges of the departments, agencies and to abolish any plans of increasing tariffs on utilities.

Failure to heed to this advice, AFAG will communicate to the nation its next line of actions.

Thank You.
Samuel Awuku
(Director Operations)
Source: Samuel Awuku (Director Operations, AFAG)/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

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