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10.10.2005 General News

Moses Asaga Lambasts NPP

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“Positive Change must make things easier”, he says. The NDC Minority Spokesperson on Finance and MP for Nabdam constituency Hon. Moses Asaga has condemned the recent price hikes in petroleum products announced by the NPP government.

He described especially the increment in the price of petrol from ¢30,500 to ¢32,500 as a primitive and static way of handling the economy.

Hon. Moses Asaga who is also the former NDC Deputy Minister for Finance, was contributing to discussions on the fuel price hike last week on Happy FM. He explained that for the country to gain any stable economic growth the government should stop engaging in costly experimentation. “If you stifle the economy the people suffer,” he said. He added that things are really very hard for Ghanaians yet the government continues to pride itself in being on top of the situation.

The MP intimated that the NPP slogan Positive Change is abysmally deceptive and meaningless considering the exorbitant levels o! f prices prevailing in the country. “The real incomes of Ghanaian workers have been virtually eroded as a result of the steep prices of goods and services,” he stated.

“Where are the men that the NPP claimed it had to steer the economy when they were in opposition” he queried.

Touching on the petrol increment, he asserted that the hasty way the government increased the price exposed the government's lack of knowledge in the handling of the country's economy. “The petrol price is simply too high,” he stressed.

According to Hon. Asaga, there are too many taxes that culminate in the end price of petrol taking the final price beyond the threshold of endurance of ordinary Ghanaians. The MP called on the government to reduce those taxes. “The government should reduce those taxes that are causing the final price of petrol to be so high.”

On what specific taxes should be taken off, Moses Asaga explained that scrapping the taxes m! ay not necessarily be the solution but instead the government should reduce the taxes across board by 50%.

He questioned NPP's claim of being a government of positive change. He compared the tax build-up of about 30% during the tenure of the NDC to the current 42% under “Positive Change” and asked: “Which represents the real Positive Change?”

He condemned the NPP government's explanation that the many taxes are meant for national development. To him, the current high taxes are unjustified since despite Ghana's low export earnings during a most difficult time like the year 2000, the NDC government found it humanly necessary to subside the populace.

The former Minister appealed to the government to be more sensitive to the severe plight of the populace. Citing the already impoverished situation of the average Ghanaian, he noted that since the country now gets a relief of about 250 million dollars annually, it will not be ! out of place to use about 150 million to subsidize petrol to cushion the overburdened populace.

“The extreme high level of taxes forming part of the final price of petrol is crippling the private sector and many industries in the country,” he stated. “Government should instead seek to expand the economy in order to reap more corporate taxes,” he advised.