Ken Ofori-Atta sabotaging Bawumia’s Presidential bid with excessive taxes

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The Vice-President of Ghana and New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, is set to address the nation on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, unveiling his vision for the country in his quest to succeed his boss, President Nana Akufo-Addo in January 2025.

However, the anticipation of this address is overshadowed by the enforcement of Value Added Tax (VAT) on household electricity bills and the Emissions Levy Act, 2023 (Act 1112), which imposes significant taxes on vehicle owners.

Insiders have promised surprises in Dr Bawumia’s address which a memo issued by the NPP, said will be on the theme; of Ghana’s next chapter; “selfless leadership and bold solutions for the future”.

The Vice-President, is likely to distance himself from the many policies, especially the excessive taxes, including VAT on Electricity bills and the Emissions Levy.

Implemented by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on February 1, 2024, the Emissions Levy has led to an uproar among Ghanaians, particularly due to the substantial amounts some vehicle owners are required to pay annually. The taxes range from GH¢75 for motorcycles and tricycles to GH¢300 for cargo trucks and articulated trucks.

Critics argue that these taxes, the recent two levies, would harm the NPP’s popularity ahead of the December 2024 elections.

Many communicators within the governing party have expressed dissatisfaction with the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, accusing him of mismanaging the economy and making the NPP less appealing to the electorates who are already grappling with economic hardship, and unemployment among others.

Prominent party members, including Members of Parliament (MPs) like Andy Kwame Appiah-Kubi of the Asante-Akim North Constituency in the Ashanti Region, Eugene Boakye Ntwi of Subin, Samuel Atta Akyea of Abuakwa South, have openly told the Finance Minister to vacate the finance ministry over his poor handling and mismanagement of the economy.

The Emissions Levy Act, enacted in December 2023, aims to address greenhouse gas emissions by imposing levies on carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles.

The government hopes to encourage the adoption of environmentally friendly technologies and align with global efforts toward net-zero targets.

In addition to the emissions levy, the government directed the GRA to work with power distribution companies to implement VAT on households that exceed their lifeline power consumption. The directive, effective January 1, 2024, has further fueled public dissatisfaction.

Dr Bawumia’s upcoming address is expected to address these concerns and distance himself from the controversial taxes.

As the nation awaits his speech, the political landscape is tense, with accusations of internal sabotage affecting the party’s unity ahead of the crucial elections.

The event will take place at the Kofi-Ohene Konadu Auditorium, University of Professional Studies (UPSA) at 4:00 pm, and will be the Vice President’s public address in a long time and his first since his election as NPP flagbearer in November 2023.

The new Emissions Levy Ac is a tax measure enacted by parliament in December 2023 and aims to impose a levy on carbon dioxide equivalent emissions specifically from internal combustion engine vehicles.

The government’s primary objective is to address greenhouse gas emissions and encourage the adoption of environmentally friendly technologies, aligning with the pursuit of net-zero targets.

The Ghana Revenue Authority is now prepared to implement the collection of this levy, with varying amounts to be paid by vehicle owners based on their vehicle type and engine capacity.

According to a public service advert published in the dailies, users of motorcycles and tricycles are required to pay GH¢75 yearly.

Also, motor vehicles, buses, and coaches that are up to 3000 cc will pay GH¢150, while motor vehicles, buses, and coaches above 3000 cc, cargo trucks, and articulated trucks will pay GH¢300 yearly.

The breakdowns Motorcycle and tricycle owners will be subject to an annual levy of GH¢75, while Motor vehicles, buses, and coaches with engine capacities up to 3000 ccs will incur an annual levy of GH¢150. Finally, for motor vehicles, buses, and coaches exceeding 3000 cc, as well as cargo trucks and articulated trucks, the annual levy will be GH¢300.

The GR has announced the commencement of the implementation of the Emissions Levy Act, 2023 (Act 1112) from Thursday, February 1, 2024.

According to them, the Act will impose a levy on carbon dioxide equivalent emissions on internal combustion engine vehicles.

The GRA emphasized that the move aligns with the government’s commitment to addressing greenhouse gas emissions.

The implementation of the emissions levy, aims to promote the adoption of eco-friendly technology and green energy, contributing to improved environmental management and the control of air and water pollution.

The authority stated that individuals obligated to pay the Emissions Levy must complete the registration process and make the levy payments exclusively through the platform.

“Under section 4(4) of Act 1112, a person required to issue a road certificate (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and other testing centers) shall demand evidence of payment of the levy before issuing a Road Use Certificate.”

Additionally, the GRA called on all vehicle owners to adhere to the directive and fulfill their obligation by paying the Emissions Levy as stipulated in Act 1112.

Earlier in January, the Akufo-Addo government had requested the GRA to liaise with the two power distribution companies to transfer VAT generated from consumers who have exceeded their lifeline power consumption.

In a press release, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta directed that the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) work with GRA to implement VAT on households that have consumed power above the maximum consumption level specified for block charges for lifeline unit effective January 1, 2024.

“The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) are, hereby, requested to liaise with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to ensure that the implementation of VAT for residential customers of electricity above the maximum consumption level specified for block charges for lifeline units takes effect on I” January 2024, in line with Section 35 and 37 and the First Schedule (9) of Act 870.

“By a copy of this letter, GRA is requested to ensure that it liaises with ECG and NEDCO for the transfer of the revenues collected from the implementation of VAT on the subject matter as part of its domestic VAT collections,” the December, 12, release read.

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