Deputy General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress, Koku Anyidoho is all rage, and he says he has had to spend the better part of Wednesday trying to cool the anger of party followers.
He, like the angry party followers, finds some tax proposals remarks by Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, particularly a move to tax pensions and allowances when the latter spoke at theGraphic Business/Stanbic Breakfast Meeting on Tuesday, as a drawback on the party’s quest to retain power.
The Finance Minister was a keynote speaker at the forum in Accra that assembled the cream of the business community, tax experts and tax administrators.
“Yes, allowances must be taxed. They are income,” Terkper had said, explaining also that it is a thorny issue taxing pensions.
“It’s a thorny one because you are exiting. But remember that as you make your social security contributions, they are exempt from tax even though it is part of your income,” he had explained.
However Koku who reacted to the comments which formed the lead story of the Daily Graphic Wednesday, told Accra-based Muntie FM that “The NDC party will not sit down again,” repeating severally, “the NDC party we are tired, yabr?…, we will not sit down again… No individual minister will walk us into opposition. No individual minister will walk us into opposition, it will not happen, it cannot happen…”
Koku who wondered if all tax tools need to be deployed at a go when it could be rolled out gradually to afford the taxpayer some breathing space, said the government’s tax policies are overburdening the Ghanaian and threatens to overshadow all its good works.
Who would appreciate your good works when taxes drown the people, he quipped, and followed it up with “Why? Why? It will not continue and cannot continue.”
Koku said it did not make sense to tax pensions and that henceforth, the party would not sit unconcerned for any political appointee to derail the party’s ambitions with unpopular decisions and warned “… let any appointee make the mistake and dare the party and they will see the anger of the party.”
Taxes are good, said Koku, it builds schools, constructs roads, supplies water and light, “but please, tell Seth Terkper, do not incur the wrath of the party”.
Koku continued that the Finance Minister may have his say in intellectual discourses on taxation but he should not hang the burden on the neck of the party.
“Go to your business forum, go and make your submissions as a tax expert and receive applause. Never, never, never hang it on our neck.”
He said at a time when agro-businesses are collapsing, industries are suffocating and workers are being laid off, a situation that requires that the people are given hope, further taxes of pensions and allowances are a no, no and the Finance Minister cannot be telling Ghanaians to look out for more.
“Seth Terkper, please watch your language. The NDC does not belong to you, it does not belong to me, it belongs to the grassroots. Seth Terkper do not incur the wrath of the party,”counseled Koku, who said “the next time it happens the party would lead demonstrations against the government for while they would support the government any day, they bear allegiance first to the party.”