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Kweku Baako Explains ‘kumepreko’ demonstration

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Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper has lashed out at critics especially some members of the National Democratic Congress on involving President Akufo-Addo in his involvement in the ‘kumepreko’ demonstration which took place during the tenure of former president Rawlings for placing a perpetual injunction on the president not to consider, let alone implement a decision to increase Value Added Tax (VAT).

Although the government has denied speculations that it plans to increase the tax from 17.5% to 21%, the minority has said on countless times, they are baffled that the president even considered increasing it when he openly campaigned against its introduction in 1995.

President Akufo-Addo, then Member of Parliament of Abuakwa South, together with some member and sympathizers of the opposition New Patriotic Party in 1995 staged a massive demonstration against the Rawlings administration over its plan to introduce VAT.

The ‘Kume preko’ demonstration, the largest in Ghana’s history, was in protest against the high cost of living and the then government’s decision to introduce VAT.

However the veteran journalist addressing such talks in the media domain, Kweku Baako said he finds such comments unfortunate. He said the AFC and Akufo-Addo were not, in principle, against the introduction of VAT.

Their fear, he explained,  was that the government had not demonstrated that it was capable of handling the tax and that might result in corruption and the misuse of resources.

“When they reintroduced VAT in 1998 despite our opposition, did we go on a demonstration, in 2000 when they increased it from 10% to 12.5%, did we go on a demonstration? When it moved to 15% what did we do? When it moved 17.5 percent what did we do?- he said.

According to him, taxes are used in nation development and that no government can ever better a country without not involvement of tax.

The veteran journalist and sympathiser of the governing New Patriotic Party said those who have remained on that static mode, relative to incidents that occurred in 1995, are “being totally unrealistic and not pragmatic.”

He said the theory that Akufo-Addo cannot increase VAT because of his stance in 1998 is unsustainable and cannot be used in any serious scientific analysis.

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