In the wake of media reports that the Akufo Addo administration is set to increase VAT this Thursday during the mid-year budget review, Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr has expressed shock at the increment in the Value Added Tax(VAT).
The government is likely to increase the Value Added TaX (VAT) from 17.5% to 21% and National Health Insurance Levy(NHIL) in its mid-year budget set to be presented to Parliament on Thursday, July 19, 2018.
The country’s Financial Management Administration Act requires the Finance Minister to come before Parliament not later than July 31, prepare and submit to parliament a Mid-Year Fiscal Policy review.
But Kwesi Pratt speaking on peace fm Kokrokoo morning show expressed shock and disappointment in news running over the increment stating that, this same VAT increment was opposed against by himself and some leading government officials years ago so why calling for increment when in power.
”We organized the ‘Kume preko’ march in 1995, we organized the march against the Value Added Tax (VAT), we said it was a regressive tax, it was at the time 12.5%. We agitated and urged Ghanains to join us in street protest. They responded to our call, more than 100,000 people took part in that march at the end six people died. Today some of us who organized the march which led to the death of these innocent people are in power now, but have turned round to say that VAT is good, we don’t even want the 12.5% anymore, but rather 20% plus, then the families of those who were killed should forgive us for letting their relatives die. The parents of Ahunu Hongar should forgive us, for letting him die over 12.5% VAT.
“If we’re justifying the VAT increment that okay, we should remember it hasn’t been long since we voted, the promises and the comments made by then opposition NPP about taxation is still fresh in the minds of many. Let’s continue to justify this increment, Ghanaians are watching.” – he said.
According to him, promises by current government in opposition has nothing to do with VAT increment and that any sort of increment will come as a heavy blow to many Ghanaians including him.
The Kume Preko demonstration occurred in Ghana in 1995 under the Jerry John Rawlings administration to oppose against VAT Increment which was led by Nana Akufo-Addo, now incumbent President with other colleagues including him Kwesi Pratt Jnr, Dr. Wereko Brobbey, Akoto Ampaw, Napoleon Abdulai, his colleague journalsit Kweku Baako and a host of others.
The demonstration was initially billed as a peaceful protest but quickly became violent when unidentified assailants shot live bullets into the crowd resulting in the deaths of six protesters.