In the wake of media reports that the Akufo Addo administration is set to increase VAT next week, Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr has asked for forgiveness from the families of persons who died in the ‘Kume Preko’ march which was against the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) initiative in 1995.
The government is also likely to increase the Value Added TaX (VAT) from 17.5% to 21% and National Health Insurance Levy(NHIL) in its mid-year budget set to be presented to Parliament on Thursday, July 19, 2018.
The country’s Financial Management Administration Act requires the Finance Minister to come before Parliament not later than July 31, prepare and submit to parliament a Mid-Year Fiscal Policy review.
But Kwesi Pratt who was one of the organizers of the ‘Kume Preko’ protest commenting on Peace FM Friday over the impending tax introduction stated that it is unconscionable for the same people who organized the biggest ever street protest in the country’s history to turn round and be introducing what they vehemently opposed while in opposition.
“We organized the ‘Kume preko’ march in 1995, we organized the march against the Value Added Tax (VAT), we said it was a regressive tax, it was at the time 12.5%. We agitated and urged Ghanains to join us in street protest. They responded to our call, more than 100,000 people took part in that march at the end six people died. Today some of us who organized the march which led to the death of these innocent people are in power now, but have turned round to say that VAT is good, we don’t even want the 12.5% anymore, but rather 20% plus, then the families of those who were killed should forgive us for letting their relatives die. The parents of Ahunu Hongar should forgive us, for letting him die over 12.5% VAT.
“If we’re justifying the VAT increment that okay, we should remember it hasn’t been long since we voted, the promises and the comments made by then opposition NPP about taxation is still fresh in the minds of many. Let’s continue to justify this increment, Ghanaians are watching.”
The Kume Preko demonstration occurred in Ghana in 1995 under the Jerry John Rawlings administration and was led by Nana Akufo-Addo, now incumbent President with other colleagues including as Kwesi Pratt Jnr, Dr. Wereko Brobbey, Akoto Ampaw and Napoleon Abdulai.
The demonstration was initially billed as a peaceful protest but quickly became violent when unidentified assailants shot live bullets into the crowd resulting in the deaths of six protesters.
“Kume Preko” means “You may as well kill me” in the Akan language spoken by the majority of people in Ghana.