Morgan Ayawine, ICU General Secretary, addressing the press
Morgan Ayawine, ICU General Secretary, addressing the press

ICU backs calls against VAT on electricity

The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) has backed Organised Labour's call for the removal of 15 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity.


It said there were so many nuisance taxes already in the system, and adding on to them would be unbearable for the worker.

"It's not right for the government to give its people bitter pills.

We have been swallowing bitter pills, but this time around, the introduction of VAT on electricity can be something that is more than a bitter pill.

"Why do we pay VAT on electricity when the people are already overburdened?" the General Secretary of the ICU, Morgan Ayawine, asked at a media engagement in Accra yesterday (Wednesday).

Organised Labour last Tuesday gave the government a one-week ultimatum to withdraw the VAT on electricity for residential customers.

The labour unions said the implementation of VAT on electricity for residential customers would worsen the plight of the “already burdened” Ghanaian since the cost of electricity would go up by more than 15 per cent.

Addressing the press, the Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Yaw Baah, stressed that the government must withdraw the VAT with immediate effect or face the wrath of workers.

"Our message to government is very simple: we cannot pay VAT on electricity; we will not pay it today, we will not pay it tomorrow," he stressed.


Mr Ayawine said it was important to work towards the recovery of economy rather than imposing VAT on electricity.

"Government is looking for trouble.

Why should this thing come at this time? If there should be any trouble, then it is not from the unions but government,” he said.

Mr Ayawine said anytime such came up and Organised Labour raised concerns, people read all kinds of meaning into that.

The ICU General Secretary said the union would not sit aloof for the 15 per cent VAT to be introduced on electricity.

"If after January 31 nothing is done about this, with regards to the withdrawal of the VAT on electricity, we would advise ourselves accordingly," he said.

The ICU, he said, had started consulting its structure nationwide, and on January 31, it would join hands with Organised Labour to do what was appropriate.


Responding to a question, Mr Ayawine he said the union did not have the luxury of time to engage the government on the matter.

"This is not a negotiation matter. Organised Labour is ready to sit down with anybody to do any negotiation.

We are not going to negotiate; our simple request is that government should withdraw the directive and stay the status quo," he said.

He wondered why the government would add to the several nuisance taxes it had introduced.

"We have demanded time without number that one of the nuisance taxes — overtime tax — should be scrapped.

He appealed to members of the ICU to adhere to any decision that would be taken by leadership.

He gave the assurance that VAT on electricity would not succeed.

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