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20.04.2005 General News

Labour appeals for reduction in petroleum prices

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Ho, April 20, GNA - The Ho District Council of Labour (DCL) has asked government to trim various taxes on petroleum products to bring the price of the commodity down.

This was contained in a six-point resolution issued after the Council's meeting in Ho last Friday, April 15.

The resolution signed by Mr Kobla Abbah, Chairman, Mr Laud Sittie, Secretary, and Mr Maxwell Akoto-Mireku, Volta Regional Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) called for the immediate withdrawal of the social mitigation levy.

It demanded the slashing of the distribution margins that had been raised between 30 per cent and 41 per cent.

The resolution acknowledged that the government needed to generate enough revenue from taxes to facilitate development but decried the over dependence on petroleum taxes as a "short circuited approach" which had over the years not been beneficial to the country. It urged the government to widen the tax net to ease the pressure imposed by "persistent price hikes of petroleum products and must further explore the benefits of other sources of energy". The resolution also slammed the deregulation exercise, saying it constituted a threat to the business of indigenous oil marketing companies.

"It must be undertaken in such a way that indigenous oil marketing companies are not thrown out of business by virtue of unfair competition with expatriate companies in the sector," the resolution stated. It also said deregulation "should not become a vehicle by which fuel prices could consistently go up, thus, further exacerbating the already precarious economic woes of the people".

The resolution also urged the government to take steps to save the Juapong Textiles Limited (JTL) from collapse by raising tariffs on imported textile products and also checking smuggling of such products into the country.

It expressed regret at the collapse and the weak operational base of a number of strategic industries such as rice and poultry production as well as the timber sectors and asked government to take steps to shore up strategic industries to ensure their survival.

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