The 17.5% Tax On Petroluem Products: Comparing The Parliaments Of Ghana And Burkina Faso’s

Ghana ParliamentOnly last Month, angry Burkinabes besieged their Parliament house and burnt it down. Their reason was simply; the legislatorswere on the verge of passing a new law to enable President Blaise Campoare to run for another term as President of his country.

Even though the act of burning down the Parliament was condemned by many, they also sympathized with the Burkinabe people because it was clear that if the people had not taken that action, the Burkinabe Parliament would have passed that law and the country would still be saddled with President Compoare even after 27 years in power.

The discourse that followed afterwards pointed to one thing; that many African Parliaments will do anything that is asked of them by their governments without recourse to how their constituencies feel about their actions. It became clear that the actions of African Parliaments are sometimes at variance with the desires of those they represent. And it came to pass that the Burkinabe Parliament was burnt down and President Blaise Compoare fled his country. A Coup d’etat almost happened and the constitution and Parliament were suspended.

Just one month after that experience, Ghana’s Parliament last Wednesday under a certificate of urgency, passed a new law to bring into immediate effect a new service tax of 17.5 per cent on all petroleum products. The bill was laid in the course of the presentation of the 2015 Annual Budget by the Finance Minister. In a matter of hours the Majority side of Parliament passed the bill into law thus imposing the new law on all Ghanaians with immediate effect.

Lots of questions arise from these actions; when parliamentarians pass laws do they do so because the people they represent want those laws or they do so to please themselves or the Government? So the Burkinabe MPs were about to pass a law that their people were totally against, how does the majority in Ghana’s parliament know if their people want the law they passed last Wednesday?

What is really the difference between what the Burkinabe Parliament did and what the majority is Ghana’s Parliament did? The Finance Minister laid a bill that was to add additional burden on the people and the legislators were ready without recourse to their people to accept? The Finance Minister may as well have laid a bill to make President Mahama Life President and could have gotten away with it.

Why are our legislators always ready to approve new taxes when there is an abundance of evidence in the Auditor General’s reports that Government if not dealing prudently with the country’s finances. What kind of democracy is that when a hundred and fifty people (150) can by themselves to impose laws on the people when they know fully well that these laws are unacceptable to the people? Or are they expecting the people to march up to Parliament and burn it down too?

Source: The Scandal

Leave a Reply