Opposition MP, Isaac Adongo, has criticised a tax increase on petroleum as even worse than the tax on luxury cars which government has abolished.
While government is happy to remove the luxury tax on flashy cars, the Bolgatanga Central NDC legislator said on Joy FM’s Top Story Monday, the tax introductions cast the net of hardship on an even wider range – the poor.
The criticisms come in reaction to the government’s mid-year budget review in which the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced the scrapping of the controversial tax on luxury vehicles after 12months
Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng, had told host the programme, Evans Mensah, that government has done what is right by accepting criticisms from the opposition and withdrawn the luxury tax.
“We have taken the feedback,” he said and revealed it was difficult for the government to ensure compliance to the tax. “If the Minority wants to take any credit for the comments on the luxury vehicles, I have no problems,” Kwaku Kwarteng said.
But refusing to bask in the vindication, Bolgatanga Central MP said: “We are interested in the insincerity to the Ghanaian tax payer.”
Isaac Adongo complained putting a tax on an inelastic good like petrol, will affect motorbike riders and public transport users.
The government announced a 90p increase per gallon of petrol and diesel. The increase is in the Energy Sector Levies (ESLA) which will see a 20p levy per litre for petrol and diesel while LPG gets an 8p levy per kg.
The government has explained, the tax is needed to fund serious challenges within the energy sector occasioned by “obnoxious” decisions by the previous government which saw them sign power purchase agreements in excess of the country’s needs.
But quoting American civil rights leader, Malcom X, Adongo said “you don’t stick a knife in a man’s back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you’re making progress.”
He called the shifting of a tax burden from the affluent to the poor as akin to ‘taking money from a back pocket after people complained their monies were being stolen from their breast pocket’.
Whoever does that is a thief, the opposition MP said.