Deputy Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party [NPP], John Boadu has said despite government’s claims that it has cleared the Tema Oil Refinery [TOR] debt, what it has actually done is to “rob Peter to pay Paul.”
Speaking on Multi TV’s political talk show, Minority Caucus, Mr. Boadu explained that what government has done as far as the payment of the debt is concerned is to convert TOR’s debt into a bond “for which we are going to pay because if it was true that they have paid for all the debt at TOR, they would have withdrawn the debt recovery levy but we’re still paying for it.”
According to him, since coming into office, the Mills administration has rather increased the debt recovery levy by 400 percent, so “when they say we came to meet debt at Tema Oil Refinery and we’ve paid for it, the truth of the matter is that they’ve robbed Peter to pay Paul.”
The Member of Parliament for Dormaa West, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu who was also on the panel described the TOR debt situation as a “debt swap”.
He explained “TOR was owing Ghana Commercial Bank. Government has now issued bonds so institutions and private individuals have now contributed to take the debt away from Ghana commercial bank. So we’ve just changed ownership [and] so who do we owe?”
Mr. Boadu also criticised the NDC administration of over burdening the average Ghanaian with taxes contrary to its manifesto promise of not introducing new taxes.
“If you look at page 45 of the manifesto of the NDC, it says clearly “the news NDC government will not introduce any new taxes” full stop. Where is this 20 percent environmental tax coming from” he asked.
He noted that the 20 percent environmental tax has led to an increase in the price of basic commodities such as sachet water.
“It has increased just sachet water by 100 percent from the old 5 pesewas to 10 pesewas. So now, a little child going to school needs an additional 100 percent increment for just sachet water,” he noted.
He said “just 2011 alone, there was an increase in petroleum prices, increase in water and electricity tariffs, increase in road tolls by more than 1000 percent, increase in school fees for secondary schools. We have increased airport tax – economy class from $75 to $100... even gift tax has been increased from 4 to 15 percent.”
He added that within the two and half-year administration of President Mills, the country’s debt profile has also increased from 100 trillion old cedis to 200 trillion old cedis.
Source: Nii Akrofi Smart-Abbey/ Multi Tv/ Ghana
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