Government can’t pay salaries if we remove taxes on petroleum products – President Akufo-Addo
The President of the Republic, His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo admonished Ghanaians to support the government in this difficult phase of the state during his address at the 2022 May Day commemoration at the Independence Square in Accra.
In his address, the President dismissed the calls from some Ghanaians on the removal of certain petroleum taxes.
He said the government risks losing about GH¢4 billion if it makes any such move. He added that it is even more untenable because the government is rather looking for more ways to raise money to support the economy.
“Removing taxes on petroleum products will reduce government revenues by some GH¢4 billion. At this time, when we are determined to expand government revenues in order to increase our capacity to finance our own development, can we afford to reduce tax revenues by GH¢4 billion?” President Akufo-Addo quizzed.
Ghana is currently suffering the rising cost of fuel prices as a result of the global crude price instability. This has generated a series of debates on how best the government can help lessen the burden on Ghanaians. Many experts in the petroleum trade industry have called on the government to revisit the numerous taxes levied on petroleum products in the country.
But President Akufo-Addo in a straightforward response to such calls, said the current challenges facing the economy require that the government rather increases its revenue base.
He said the monies raised from taxes such as those on petroleum prices are what is used to pay wages and allowances of workers; hence withdrawing them could affect the payment of salaries.
“Government is currently confronted by very tight financing conditions, in the wake of inadequate domestic revenue mobilisation. Indeed, some of the revenues from these same taxes on petroleum products are what we use to pay some of the salaries of some of the seven hundred thousand (700,000) public sector workers on Government’s payroll.”
Nana Akufo-Addo said despite the government’s decision, it is adopting other measures to mitigate the situation, including stabilising the exchange rate, a key determinant of fuel prices.
“Government is also working hard to ensure reliable supply and availability of petroleum products, thereby preventing shortages, a phenomenon which is being experienced in some other neighbouring countries,” he added, stressing that Ghana being a net importer of petroleum products is exposed to the volatilities on the international market.
“Intense efforts are being made to rehabilitate the Tema Oil Refinery, to enable it to contribute to stabilising petroleum prices, which should see the light of day very soon. We are also encouraging private companies to establish refineries in the country, one of which is eighty percent (80%) complete, and is expected to be commissioned before the end of this year,” he added.
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