The First National Vice Chairman of the People's National Convention (PNC), Alhaji Ramadan, has described the Kufuor-led NPP government as "a 419 government".
Addressing a forum held by the Committee for Joint Action (CJA) to explain why the CJA is leading the crusade to get the NPP government to reduce the price of petroleum products, Alhaji Ramadan pointed out that now that the NPP is in government they are by their actions and policies repudiating the very principles that they espoused while they were in opposition, for which reason Ghanaians thought that they were better than the previous government of the NDC.
Alhaji Ramadan recalled that only a few years ago, Mr. Kufuor led the demonstrations against the introduction of VAT at the rate of 17% today Mr. Kufuor is the President of Ghana and the VAT threshold has been reduced form two hundred million cedis (¢200,000.000.00) to one hundred million cedis (¢100,000.000.00), thus roping in even table-top businesses, which was not the case previously. The VAT
rate has also shot up to 15%, "including 2.5% for a none-existent NHIS".
Alhaji Ramadan also recalled the fact that Mr. Kufuor was very critical of the then NDC government for the number of its Ministers because he (Kufuor) then believed that seventy-seven (77) Ministers constitute an unnecessary drain on the national kitty. However, Alhaji Ramadan pointed out, today Mr. Kufuor has gone back on that principle, having already appointed eighty-eight Ministers, with the "threat" of more Ministerial appointments hanging ominously over Ghanaians.
On the recent petroleum price increase, Alhaji Ramadan wondered why any government that claims to be sensitive to the plight of the poor as well as being environmentally friendly would impose such harsh
increases on, specifically, kerosene and Liquefied Petroleum Gas.
"There are families that when the need for raising ¢10,000.00 arise, they must disturb their eco-system, by catching one of their livestock to be sold to raise that amount of money," Alhaji Ramadan said, and pointed out that in the wake of the recent price increase, the current selling price of ¢8,000.00. per
beer-bottleful of kerosene means that most of the rural poor cannot afford this most essential source of
light for our rural folks.
Alhaji Ramadan praised the Rawlings-led NDC government for at least heeding the voices of the
people of Ghana when they spoke against the introductory rate of VAT and revised it. He also
praised that government for listening to the voices of the people of Ghana when they spoke against fuel price increases in 1999.
He called on the Kufuor administration to emulate these examples so as to give meaning to their claim
that theirs is a "listening government".
Alhaji Ramadan, while praising the PNDC/NDC for their sense of originality in introducing Petroleum Taxes as a means of government revenue generation in this country, called on the Kufuor-led NPP government to also show some originality by coming up with some innovative method for revenue generation.
"I wonder where we would have been if Ato Ahwoi had not come up with the petrol tax for government revenue generation?" He asked.
The forum which attracted a very large attendance, had to be hurriedly shifted from the Teachers' Hall to the Arts Centre in Accra at the eleventh hour in what some believe were subtle moves to scuttle the efforts of the CJA to get the Ghanaian people to better appreciate the real issues involved in the petroleum
price debate. The last minute change of venue notwithstanding, the hall was filled to capacity while
others stood several layers deep, outside the hall to hear the messages.
Speakers at the forum were Alhaji Ramadan, Mr. Ato Ahwoi, and Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr. Mad. Araba
Bentsil-Entchil, the first National Vice Chairman of the Convention People's Party, chaired the forum.