Organized Labour is set to embark on a nationwide demonstration against the government’s imposition of a 15% VAT on Electricity. The labour groups gave the government a 2-week ultimatum to withdraw the controversial tax, but the directive to the power distributors remains. In protest against the policy, Organized Labour has announced a nationwide demonstration on February 13. The protest was announced by the Secretary-General of TUC, Anthony Yaw Baah, on Friday, February 2, 2024.
“In our earlier statement, we said if by the 31st of January 2024, the government had not withdrawn its directive, we would advise ourselves. So this afternoon, we’ve met here, and we’ve advised ourselves. It is that advice that we will communicate to the president. Our advice is straightforward. We have advised ourselves that this government is taking us for granted, so we are going to lead massive demonstrations in all the 16 regional capitals of Ghana on 13th February.”
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) in January 2024 gave the government a seven-day ultimatum to withdraw the imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity consumption above lifeline. At an earlier press conference on January 23, Dr Baah said “It’s always the poor people in this country, including pensioners, who bear the brunt. And we should not allow that to continue. Organised Labour, we have come together and our message to the government is very simple, we cannot pay VAT on electricity.”
“We will not pay it today or tomorrow. Organised Labour is demanding the immediate withdrawal of the letter, and another directive from the Finance Minister to Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), ECG to stop the implementation of the VAT on electricity. We are giving the government, up to January 31, 2024, to withdraw the letter,” Dr Yaw Baah said.
Govt to hold extensive dialogue with Organised Labour
Meanwhile, the government said it’s ready to hold an extensive dialogue with Organised Labour and other key stakeholders in the coming weeks on the VAT on electricity. The stakeholder dialogue, as stated by the Finance Ministry in its statement dated January 30, 2024, is aimed at ensuring stakeholder buy-in.
“The Ministry of Finance has noted the concerns of Organised Labour on the implementation of VAT on the consumption of electricity by residential customers. Extensive dialogue will be held with Organised Labour and other key stakeholders in the coming weeks, to ensure stakeholder buy-in,” the Ministry said in its statement.