The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has asked Ghanaians to unite irrespective of their social backgrounds or political affiliations and resist what the party said were the “draconian economic policies” of the government.
The party suggested that these measures, including the reversal of Benchmark Value discounts and hike in fuel prices would further worsen the living conditions of Ghanaians if allowed to stand.
Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, Mr Sammy Gyamfi, the National Communications Officer of the NDC, stated that Ghanaians have had enough of the deception and callousness of the government and would not allow the nation to go through anymore hardship.
“The NDC is utterly appalled by the decision of the NPP government to reverse the benchmark value discounts on selected imported goods which will adversely affect the living condition of Ghanaians,” he added.
He stated that in April 2019 “the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, announced a 30 or 50 per cent discount on the benchmark values of imported vehicles and general goods, but sadly and unsurprisingly, government has decided to scrap these discounts on 44 categories of imported goods.”
Mr Gyamfi said the decision came at a time when the national currency was depreciating and world commodity prices were increasing. As such, the decision by government to reverse benchmark value would effectively affect prices of commodities, including vehicles and spare parts, machines, equipment and plants, aluminum finished products, Portland cement, cement paper bags, poultry, animal product, spaghetti, noodles, pharmaceutical products , machetes, fruit juices, corrugated paper and carbonated drinks.
Mr Gyamfi explained that the reversal of the benchmark value discounts on selected goods reinforces the long held views that government was an insensitive administration which does not have the love of the people at heart.
He stated that the outbreak of COVID-19 should not be a reasonable justification for the hardship Ghanaians were going through, adding that “COVID-19 cannot be blamed because government exceeded its revenue target for the year 2020 and actually raked in more revenue before COVID-19 struck.”
The NDC National Communication Officer said that total tax revenue stood at just about GHS 43 billion, while tax revenue for 2020 COVID year stood at GHs45.3 billion, thereby exceeding government tax revenue by GHS 2.5 billion.
Mr Gyamfi noted that government received support of about 2 billion US dollars from International Monetary Fund (IMF), a 100 million US dollars grant from the World Bank, 250 million US dollars from the Stabilisation Fund, about GHC 20 billion support from the Central Bank which were all squandered on hyper-inflated consumption-related expenditure.
Mr Gyamfi indicated that the government has been the most resourced in Ghana’s history as it had more taxes than any other government.
He described the claims by government that the purpose of the reversal of the benchmark value discounts was to promote local production as “false.”
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU