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Thousands of workers in Ghana are planning to stage a nationwide demonstration on February 13 to oppose the government’s decision to impose a 15 per cent value added tax (VAT) on electricity.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) and 35 other organised labour unions have announced the protest after the government refused to withdraw the tax, which they say will worsen their living conditions.
The TUC and its affiliates argue that they are already overburdened by high tariffs, inflation, and unemployment, and that the new VAT will increase their cost of living and affect their productivity.
The General Secretary of TUC, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, said the workers had given the government until January 31 to reverse the tax, but the government did not respond to their demand.
He said the workers had decided to demonstrate in all regional capitals, from Accra to Bolgatanga, to show their displeasure and to pressure the government to listen to them.
He said the workers would not pay
the VAT, which he described as unfair and unjust.
He also said the workers would wear red from Monday, February 5, to indicate their readiness to protest.
The government has defended the VAT on electricity, saying it is necessary to generate revenue and to improve the power sector.
The government has also said the VAT will not affect low-income consumers who use less than 50 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month.
However, the TUC and its allies have rejected this claim, saying the majority of workers use more than 50 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month and will be affected by the tax.
They have also accused the government of reneging on its promise to reduce taxes and to make life easier for Ghanaians.