The General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), Morgan Ayawine, has said that his members will join organised labour to withdraw their services if government goes ahead to implement the 15 percent VAT on electricity.
He said the implementation of this tax will worsen the plight of the already overburdened Ghanaian.
Mr Ayawine said this when he addressed a news conference in Accra on January 24.
“We have been swallowing bitter pills. But this time around, the introduction of VAT on electricity can be described as something that is more than a bitter pill. Why do we have to pay VAT on electricity when the people are already overburdened.
We are all working as Ghanaians towards the recovery of our economy. And it is not the economy alone that we have to be looking at. The recovery of even the human being in this country should go along with the recovery of the country. As if government is looking for trouble. Why should this thing come at this time, if government is not looking for trouble?” he queried.
On January 24, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) issued a seven-day ultimatum to the government, by which deadline it should withdraw the imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity consumption beyond the lifeline threshold.
The Secretary General of TUC, Dr. Yaw Baah said this policy would be detrimental on the livelihoods of ordinary Ghanaians.
Dr. Baah emphasised during a press conference that Ghanaians cannot bear the additional tax burden.
He therefore urged the government cancel the implementation of the proposed tax.
Mr Ayawine said, “You will agree with me that ICU is part of organised labour. And as the single largest union in the country, we share in the position of organised labour in the matter at issue. Which is government’s decision to put tax on electricity. There are so many taxes in this country, we are counting and continue to count. And government is adding on. It is not right for government to rather give its people bitter pills.”
He also called on government to rescind its decision to impose the tax to avoid any “trouble.”
“If there should be any trouble in this country, it is not the unions that will create trouble. I know in this country, anytime matters of this nature come up, and the organised labour decides to agitate, they read all kinds of meanings. This matter is not a political issue. It is a common issue to every Ghanaian, including the working people of this country. I want to reiterate the organised labour position, which we are part, that we are not going to sit aloof.
We are not jokers, and we mean business. After 31st January, if nothing is done with regard to our demand for the withdrawal of the directive to these two organisations- ECG and NEDCO, we will advise ourselves appropriately. Already, today is the 24th of January 2024, we have started consulting our structures nationwide and come 31st January 2004, we will join hands with our colleagues in organized labour to do what is appropriate, Mr Ayawine warned.