Story: News Desk
The Flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for election 2024, John Dramani Mahama, has said the government is returning the country to the days of severe power crisis christened “dumsor.”
Parts of the country have been experiencing erratic power cuts for some time now, leading to frustration and anger among some Ghanaians.
For most electricity consumers, they are unhappy with the lack of prior communication and explanation for the widespread outages.
Government owes the West African Pipeline Company (WAPCo) an amount of $19 million. Confirming the amount, a Deputy Minister of Energy, Andrew Egyapa Mercer, said the government has settled $13 million of that, leaving an arrears of $6 million.
He assured that government was in talks with WAPCo to come out with a payment plan for the remaining $6 million. The Deputy Minister for Energy also explained that the recent power outage experienced in parts of the capital, Accra, was caused by fuel shortage.
Speaking at a stakeholder meeting with members of the NDC during his “Building Ghana Tour” at Sogakope in the Volta Region, Mr Mahama envisaged that should the NDC return to office, his government will inherit power cuts, a problem the party had fixed before exiting office.
“Today ‘dumsor’, they’re treating it like a football because he wants to kick it over the 7th January 2025 line and hand the trouble over to somebody else, and yet we resolved it before they came into office.”
Government has asked the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to liaise with the two country’s power distribution companies to transfer Value Added Tax (VAT) generated from consumers who have exceeded their lifeline power consumption.
Mr Mahama condemned this move saying it will further burden consumers who are already paying more for electricity due to existing taxes on power.
Today, they’ve put Value Added Tax on electricity bills. And COVID levy, NHIL levy, GETFUND Levy all on electricity bills, and so that’s going to send the cost of your electricity bill up. Already, there was a 29 per cent increase, there was a 19 per cent increase, then they tried to fool us with a 4% increase, and now it’s going up again astronomically” he lamented.
Many businesses continue to suffer due to the hikes in tariffs.
John Mahama believes a reduction in government expenditure could help reduce excessive taxes that have resulted in hikes in prices of goods and services.
“It’s making Ghana a very difficult place to do business. All business people are complaining. The owner of this hotel who has given us this resort to do this thing, you should ask him how much he’s paying in utility bills. And yet, because of the mismanagement by the President and his cousin and his Vice President, it has plunged all of us into a difficult situation where they have pledged to the IMF [International Monetary Fund] to raise as much revenue as they can.”
And the point is, while you are raising revenue reduce your expenditure because that’s what any sane reasonable person does. Because if you reduce your expenditure, you can ease the burden that you’re putting on the taxpayer.
“If they cut down the expenditure of the Office of the President; they’ve doubled it. Year-on-year budget went up by 82 billion cedis, and so if you reduce the rise of the budget in terms of expenditure, then you could reduce the incidence of tax. You might not need to place Value Added Tax on electricity, so that you pass the relief on to the people of Ghana” the former President noted.
Meanwhile, the former President has assured that the NDC will restrain itself from starting new projects but focus on completing new ones.
“All the projects that they inherited they have abandoned, and they themselves have started projects that they know they cannot complete. And yet, instead of finishing the abandoned and ongoing projects, they have started news projects like agenda 111, some of them are at foundation level, some they’ve raised the block work, but they know that they cannot finish it before they leave.
“So, what they will do is to push them on to somebody else and say that, we started this and you came and you’ve abandoned it. But look at the mess you’ve created, how are we going to get money to finish all those projects” the former President quizzed.
“But I pledge that we will restrain ourselves from starting new projects. Whatever little resources that we come and meet, we will spend it on completing the ongoing and abandoned projects.”