Just more taxation without accountability – H Prempeh speaks on Emission Levy

    Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Professor H Kwasi Prempeh, has described the Emission Levy as just more taxes being introduced by the government without accountability.

    He is not certain whether the Emission Levy will yield any results in tackling the amount of unhealthy emissions released by unworthy vehicles.

    Prof Prempeh puts the Emission Levy in the same bracket as the street lights levy which he says still leaves the roads and streets unsafely dark at night.

    In a Facebook post, he said “Don’t expect this to have any impact on the amount of black smoke and other unhealthy emissions we suffer on our roads from all manner of road-unworthy vehicles.

    “In fact, it is not clear whether we are now paying for the right to pollute or paying to fund a public solution to the vehicular pollution problem. Either way, just pay, expecting no remediation of the pollution problem. Just more taxation without accountability.”

    Several people have rejected this Levy.

    For instance, a private legal practitioner, Kwame Jantuah, believed that its introduction was occasioned by the programme between the Government of Ghana and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    He intimated that the government introduced the levy as part of the conditions for the release of the $600million second tranche of the $ 3 billion programme with the Fund.

    “[Government] introduced this because of IMF,” he said on the Big Issue on TV3 Friday February 2 while commenting on the Emission Levy.

    He further told the government that the only way people will resist the imposition of taxes is when they are not aware of what the government is going to use the taxes for.

    To him, the government will have to engage the people and explain to them why certain tax policies are introduced as a way of minimising agitations that will accompany the implementation of the policies.

    “The problem is how it is being implemented. The hidden agenda is carbon credit, do they tell us what they use the money for? People are prepared to pay taxes when they know what the taxes are being used for.

    “If you are going to bring such a policy that will affect the people then you have to discuss it and engage them.”

    For his part, the Member of Parliament for Jirapa, Cletus Seidu Dapilah described the Emission Levy as a lazy man’s approach adopted by the government to generate revenue.

    He challenged the government to explain to the people what the money generated from this levy is going to be used for.

    He said on the same show that “This is lazy man’s approach by taxing vehicle owners and motor. You are collecting the taxes from people, but you don’t tell them what you use the tax for.  Let them say what they are going to use Emission Levy for. It is not stated, it is a lazy way and they just want to collect money from the people.”

    Regarding this issue, Deputy National Director of A Rocha Ghana, Daryl Bosu, earlier stated that there were several other ways that the government could have gone about this issue of carbon emission rather than introducing the Emission Levy.

    He suggested that the government could have introduced a scheme called ‘cap and tray’ rather than the levy which he described as a ‘blanket tax price’.

    “If the government really needs to deal with emissions from sectors of the economy because they think they are high emitters of carbon, there are other schemes that the government could have used. One of them has been the ‘Cap and Trade’ scheme.

    “Where for the particular sector you set a threshold and so as an entity in this particular sector don’t emit beyond this threshold if you do then we are forced to tax you. That would have been better than a blanket tax price for almost every citizen, this is going to affect every sector of our economy,” he said while speaking on the Ghana Tonight Show on TV3 on Wednesday, January 31.

    Daryl Bosu further indicated that the new Emission Levy tax is unjust.

    He explained that Ghana is on the international stage asking that climate transition must be just because African countries are the least emitters of carbon.

    To that end, he said, it is surprising that the government will turn around and impose such a tax on its people.

    The Emission levy was passed by Ghana’s Parliament last year and was expected to take effect from Thursday, February 1, 2024.

    The Act will impose a levy on carbon dioxide equivalent emissions on internal combustion engine vehicles.

    The implementation of the emissions levy aims to promote the adoption of eco-friendly technology and green energy, contributing to improved environmental management and the control of air and water pollution, according to the Ghana Revenue Authority.

    The Authority stated that individuals obligated to pay the Emissions Levy must complete the registration process and make the levy payments exclusively through the platform.

    Mr Daryl Bosu said “first of all the levy is unjust because we are in an international conference saying that climate transition must be just and so don’t tax us in Africa because we are least responsible so why come back home and impose the tax.

    “If you look at the whole global community only about 27 developed countries have actually imposed carbon tax directly on their citizens and there are several other carbon trading schemes around in the world. In Africa, it is only South Africa that has got a semblance of a carbon tax that is in operation.

    “So we really need to understand that there are several other schemes that we can use and other countries are using that

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