A close associate of the President, Asare Otchere-Darko seems to be preparing the minds of Ghanaians to a proposal to increase electricity tariffs.
This comes two days prior to the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta’s expected presentation in Parliament, on the mid-year budget review.
“Will you rather pay a little more for power or Gov’t should go on subsidizing, denying other areas,” Otchere-Darko posted.
Gabby, as he is popularly called, noted that it “this year alone $1 billion extra will be spent by the state to support the cost of keeping your lights on.”
“Imagine what that can do,” he quizzed.
Why is the post significant?
A similar question was posed by Gabby last year when the Minister was preparing to present the 2018 mid-year budget review.
“Will you support a VAT increase to keep your lights on, your secondary schools filled, your school kids fed, your streets clean, your streets safe, young graduates employed, and decent, affordable homes built for working families,” he posted.
Days later when the budget review was presented, there was no nominal increment in the 17.5% Valued Added Tax (VAT).
However, two components of the VAT, the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) and the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) were stripped from the VAT and classified as separate taxes.
Despite many justifications from the government that there would be no major impact felt by the consumer opposition MPs and some experts disagreed.
They argued that the move was “an increment in VAT through the back door” since the backlash from Gabby’s post made them pull out from direct increment.
Whether or not electricity tariffs would see some adjustment or re-alignment can be judged from history.
Meanwhile, some opposition figures have already begun kicking against any such increment.
The spokesperson on Finance for NDC MPs, Cassiel Ato Forson in a post rejecting increment in taxes in the budget review said: “my colleagues and I on our side in Parliament will do all we can to oppose these unfair increases and I call on you the good people of this country to reject these unfair, draconian increases in taxes.”
Former Deputy Power Minister, John Jinapor also in a Facebook post says “Ghanaians must totally reject any further Tax increases…”