The Coalition for Social
Justice (CSJ) has asked government eleven questions about the ongoing confusion
surrounding the concession agreement entered into with Power Distribution
Services (PDS).

The group is, among other
things,  demanding to know why the government allowed for the PDS takeover of ECG
when about more than half of the conditions of the agreement had not been met.

“Why did the Finance Minister, who is a cousin of
President Akufo-Addo demand for the redistribution of shares of the Ghanaian
companies in the deal after the takeover,” the group asked as part of its
statement.

Apart from the group’s concerns on the PDS deal, they also sought to reveal what they say are untruths in the government’s attempt to repeal the law on “Luxury Vehicle Tax”.

“… government has not been wholly truthful in the repeal of the law [Luxury Vehicle Tax]. Even though the law has been repealed, the government has left a liability clause as a condition of renewal of roadworthiness certificate,” the statement suggested.

Below is the full statement as released on Thursday, August 15, 2019, and signed by Director of Operations; Brogya Genfi, Director of Communications and Abass Nurudeen; Secretary, Ishaq Awudu.

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE COALITION FOR  SOCIAL JUSTICE (CSJ) ON THE PDS SCANDAL AND
KILLER TAXES CONTINUED DEMAND ON GOVERNMENT TO TAKE PRAGMATIC ECONOMIC ACTIONS
TO REDUCE THE BURDEN OF THE SUFFERING GHANAIAN MASSESADDRESSED ON 15TH
AUGUST, 2019

Fellow Ghanaians, Friends of the Media, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning and welcome to today’s press conference. Through you, we once again express our deepest gratitude to the several thousands of Ghanaians who poured out in their numbers on 9th July 2019 to demonstrate against hardships, insecurity and oppression under Nana Akufo-Addo.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have called this press briefing
to address the good people of Ghana on some pertinent issues.

The issues include the mid-year budget review by the Finance Minister on 29th July 2019, the mother of all scandals –  which is the PDS/ECG/Akufo-Addo/Ken Ofori Atta debacle –, as well as other incidents of corruption which are increasing under President Akufo-Addo’s watch.

Mid-Year Budget
Review

As you might all have been aware by now, the Finance Minister at the mid-year budget review which he presented to Parliament indicated the decision by the government to scrap the obnoxious and problematic Luxury Vehicle Tax. This needless tax which was poorly introduced, undoubtedly, had a cascading effect on all Ghanaians and led to suffocation of businesses.

As such, the Luxury Vehicle Tax featured prominently
in our heavily attended and historic ‘KUM Y3N PR3KO’ Demonstration in Accra
last month, which indisputably compelled the government to have a rethink of
the Tax.

The Coalition for Social Justice hereby expresses
loads of thanks to the political party leaders, leaders of allied groups and
progressive forces, driver unions and each and everyone who supported and took
part in that July 9th mammoth protest against the insensitivity of President
Akufo-Addo and his NPP Government. It’s a demonstration that proved that indeed
the people’s power is greater than the people in power.

However, we deem it as a responsibility to make the
Ghanaian public aware that government has not been wholly truthful in the
repeal of the law. Even though the law has been repealed, government has left a
liability clause as a condition of renewal of roadworthiness certificate.

What this means, ladies and gentlemen, is that if for
example, for justifiable reasons one did not renew the roadworthy certificate
of a septic siphoning tanker, also known as ‘toilet tanker’ under the period of
the law, you still carry the burden of paying the Luxury vehicle tax.

Government has shown bad faith and demonstrated that
it did not have good intentions for repealing this bad, needless, misplaced and
obnoxious Luxury Vehicle Tax law.

We, therefore, demand that President Akufo-Addo
immediately scraps the tax in its entirety and wave away the liability on all
defaulters since most of them may have defaulted genuinely as a result of the
nature and character of the law that brought the luxury vehicles tax into being.

Is it not astonishing and wicked that, for example,
the luxurious saloon car being used by the Finance Minister with an Engine
Capacity of less than 3.0 CC never demanded of him to pay the tax, yet struggling
drivers and owners of water tankers and toilet tankers whose survival and
income depends on their vehicles were made to pay the tax?

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The CSJ has also learnt regrettably the decision by
the government to review upwards as many as five levies and taxes as contained
in the mid-year budget review. These include, the Road Fund Levy, Price
Stability and Recovery Levy, and these increments will cause an upward
adjustment of cost of fuel which would have a rippling effect on businesses and
our individual lives. Ghanaians are already reeling the increment of cost of electricity
and water.

This is unacceptable! This is wickedness! And it is
further proof that Nana Akufo-Addo is insensitive and wicked. The President has
simply refused to listen to the cry of suffering Ghanaians including those who
attended the Kum Y3n Preko demonstration.

Again, government through this budget review has
proposed an increment of 50% in value of the Communication Service Tax. This
insensitive government  have also redefined
the scope of the Communication Service Tax to include advertisement etc.

Practically, the media will also feel the brunt of the
law as against the ability of businesses to pay more when they engage the
services of the media. This is another subtle attempt by government to weaken
the financial wings of the media.

Meanwhile, government has failed on its promise to
reduce corporate tax from 25% to 20%, yet continues to impose more and more
taxes on businesses.

This callous decision by government goes to manifest
yet again the insensitivity of the Akufo-Addo government.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The overall effect of these taxes is that, more misery,
poverty and hardship is being piled on Ghanaians who are already reeling under
the mismanagement and extravagance of the Akufo-Addo government and their
countless appointees and cronies.

Ghanaians never elected this 419 government, in 2016,
to bestow such levels of tax burdens on us. Ghanaians are simply disappointed
in and tired of this reckless Tax-and-Spend Akufo-Addo Government.

Our friends from the media, you are aware that this is
a government that cried from the roof tops whilst in opposition that taxation
was a lousy and lazy approach to governance and that if given the opportunity
to administer Ghana, they would move this economy “from taxation to production.”

That’s one of the reasons for which sovereign Ghanaians
entrusted the responsibility of governing Ghana into the hands of the New
Patriotic Party. Unfortunately, they are not only taxing Ghanaians stringently
but also abusing and mismanaging the revenue being accrued.

The countless incidents of abuse of office by
government appointees and the opulent and extravagant lifestyle of the
President himself all amount to a rape of the public purse and we would not sit
aloof and watch the poor Ghanaian tax payer suffer as a result.

Power Sector

Ladies and gentlemen, government has announced that
the generational capacity of power is in excess of our demand for power. They
further argue that the Take or Pay agreements in the power sector is the bane –
causing unimaginable debts in the sector.  This lame preposition serves as a
justification for the increment in many taxes, some of which have no
relationship with the energy sector such as the road fund levy.

In fact, the Akufo-Addo government’s tortoise-motion-style
of rural electrification to the remaining 17% of Ghanaian communities without access
to electricity is one of the reasons why we have excess power.

This government’s abysmal and unimpressive record of extending
electricity to just 1% of communities without electricity in almost 3 years in
office is a pale shadow of its predecessors. At this rate, government would
complete nationwide electricity coverage in 30 years – 2049.

Why won’t they keep complaining about excess capacity
when they are not expanding access to electricity? In addition, would they have
complained about excess capacity if their loud shouts about one district one
factory (1D1F) had materialized?

Indeed, the complaint about excess power belies President
Akufo-Addo’s failed industrialization policy – the ill-fated One District, One
Factory political project.

Additionally, Akufo-Addo’s claim and plans to increase
export of electricity to neighboring countries exposes the hollowness of their
arguments against excess capacity. Moreover, the PURC just increased tariffs to
reflect the dependable capacity so where is the so called excess capacity
charge coming from?

Power sector
and the PDS Scandal

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

About two weeks ago, the government announced a
supposed suspension of the contract of the Power Distribution Services Company (PDS).
It was followed by the suspension of the legal license of the company by the
Energy Commission of Ghana.

The Minister of Energy has been categorical that PDS
fraudulently procured a Financial Guarantee to acquire the contract. This
action by government exposes the lack of due diligence and disregard for due
process as far as contractual agreements under this government are concerned.

It is established fact that, the minority in
parliament as well as industry players and civil society organizations in the
power and energy sector warned government and kicked against the decision to allow
PDS take over the distribution of power from ECG without adhering to all the
conditions of the agreement as approved by Parliament.

The red flags were ignored as a result of the deep
involvement of party kingpins in the ownership of the local consortium that
make up PDS. The usual ‘chop-chop’ was the driving force in this reckless
decision instead of value for money and national interest.

In the words of our esteemed National House of Chiefs,
“the PDS corruption is a National Disgrace.” In our view, this is the single most
scandalous and stinky corrupt deal of all times to have befallen our dear
nation.

Indeed, the PDS scandal is the “most sacrilegious
murder” of our dear country, Ghana. The Akufo-Addo government is an accomplice as
well as his appointees and family members; and yet again, the poor tax payer remains
the loser.

Ghanaians deserve government’s disclosures and the
full facts of this PDS scandal.

  1. Why did
    government allow for the PDS takeover of ECG when about more than half of the
    conditions of the agreement had not been met?
  • Why did the
    Finance Minister, who is a cousin of President Akufo-Addo demand for the
    redistribution of shares of the Ghanaian companies in the deal after the
    takeover?
  • Under what
    circumstances – sole sourcing? –  did the
    private former legal partner of President Akufo-Addo, Mr. Akoto Ampaw, become
    the negotiator of this unholy redistribution of shares?
  • What role did the
    Attorney General and Minister of Justice play in the entire process?
  • How much has PDS
    invested in ECG since the takeover?
  • How many
    Officials of Government traveled to Qatar, have they returned to Ghana, and
    what did they find?
  • What is contained
    in the PDS letter to the Energy Minister on 6th August, 2019 and how
    did that letter influence ECG’s decision to reappoint PDS to continue the
    agreement contrary to the President’s fake assurances?
  • Who are the
    shareholders of TBK World Plus company and what is their relationship with
    President Akufo-Addo and his family?
  • What is the
    update on the alleged disruption of the travel plans of the Chief Executive
    Officer of Donewell Insurance Company and the subsequent confiscation of his
    passport?
  1.  Why did a Bank
    Guarantee approved by Parliament as a condition precedent to signing the
    agreement change into an Insurance Guarantee and a condition subsequent instead
    of condition precedent? and
  2. What is the role of CalBank in all this fraudulent
    insurance guarantee?

OTHER CASES OF CORRUPTION

Ladies and Gentlemen, apart from untold hardships,
neglect, failed promises, despair, hopelessness and insecurity being
experienced by Ghanaians, Nana Akufo-Addo is also visiting unprecedented and
increasing mismanagement, gross abuse of office and corruption on Ghanaians.

Corruption and graft have become the order of the day
in this family and friends government and Ghanaians have already lost count of
these incidents of corruption and rape of the public purse – the purse that the
NPP in opposition promised to protect if elected into government.

The scandals witnessed under Nana Akufo-Addo’s
presidency are unprecedented and comparable to none. Government officials who
engage in naked thievery, bribery and corruption are whitewashed and cleared
with dispatch by the President and some corrupted agencies of the State
including the CID of the Ghana Police Service.

For example, the work of world acclaimed ace investigative
Journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, has been rendered useless under this regime.
Video footages shown to the nation of President Akufo-Addo’s appointees taking
bribes and discussing corrupt deals have been rejected by state agencies.  Most of these corrupt appointees are rather
reassigned or in many instances promoted into very juicy positions.

In a recent media report, the Centre for Democratic
Development (CDD) finds in a research that in 2017 alone Ghana lost a whopping
nine billion cedis (GHC9bn) as a result of corruption under Akufo-Addo’s watch.

We have been hit with another damning revelation from
the Auditor General’s report of 2018 about the Ghana School Feeding Program
(GNSFP). In this report, District Chief Executives, staff at the head office of
the GNSFP and NPP party
officials are draining the state funds through inflated school enrollment
figures, duplication of schools etc.

More specifically, the report accuses eighty-one (81) Metropolitan, Municipal
and District Assemblies of declaring only GH¢194,383.00 from an amount of GH¢1.09
million realised from the sale of 21,880 application forms which were sold to
caterers who applied for contracts.

Also GH¢899,617 which
accrued from the sale of application forms remains unaccounted for and has been
outstanding since 2017; and the report further singles out the Sekyere East
District in the Ashanti region for particularly padding the enrolment of the
figures and manipulation of data.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the press,

These strongly affirms President Akufo-Addo’s regime
as a leaking bucket where so much revenue accrues but leaks through
deliberately created holes into private and individual pockets as was witnessed
during the reign of Bokassa, Idi Amin and Mobutu Sessekou.

This is the reason for which the government in spite
of all the revenue it has gotten from oil proceeds, the over GHC85 billion
borrowed, and monies from other sources continues to borrow uncontrollably  and unjustifiably drawing attention from the
IMF which has  warned Ghana of dire
consequences if the reckless borrowing is not checked.

CONCLUSION

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The hopeless mid-year review budget has increased
hardships on Ghanaians and the hardships will continue. Levies on petroleum
products including LPG have gone up. It is undisputable that household
consumers, drivers, market women, civil servants, and industries would bear the
brunt. In effect, disposable incomes of households would shrink even further
more than before and the cost of operations for industries and businesses would
shoot up.

This would also result in transfer of cost to the
final consumer through high cost of goods and services to atone for the
increases in the operational cost of industries and businesses.

One certainty that would arise is the possibility of
workers to be laid off which will compound the job losses due to the collapse
of the banking sector and the general  unemployment situation in the country.

Ultimately, cost of living would soar and the living
conditions of the ordinary Ghanaian would be hampered and reduced to
undesirable levels. As for corruption, its new address and synonym is
Akufo-Addo.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we the members of the Coalition for
Social Justice (CSJ) strongly believe that Ghanaians are being given a raw deal
and we won’t allow this to persist because Ghanaians deserve better. After all,
“Ghanaians are sitting on money,” Candidate Akufo-Addo in 2016 – ‘Y3te sika so
nanso k)m de y3n.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are vehemently opposed to the
astronomical increases in taxes on Talk time and petroleum products. We, also, support
the Minority in Parliament’s request for the Government of the United states of
America to investigate the PDS scandal.

Finally, through this press conference, and
considering the hopelessness and helplessness; corruption and chicanery;
suffering and savage butchering of the national purse, we wish to announce that
we would mobilize the good people of Ghana to hit the streets again.

This time, we are going to the Tamale, the capital of Northern
Region, in September to protest against tax hikes, hardships, insensitivity,
the corruption and mismanagement that has gripped Ghana, insecurity and
oppression of citizens and the press.

The Coalition for Social Justice is on a mission to
redeem Ghanaians from the shackles of this clueless, inept and nepotistic
government. We will strive and journey with suffering Ghanaians to fight for
equity, socioeconomic advancement and restoration of peace and security in
Ghana.

Once more we thank you most sincerely for attending
upon our invitation and May the Good Lord keep blessing us all.

Signed

Comrade Brogya Genfi, Director of Operations

Comrade Abass Nurudeen, Director of Communications

Comrade Ishaq, AwuduSecretary