Tax on Electricity: Akufo-Addo’s 2016 campaign promise blows up in NPP’s face in 2024

Akufo-Addo's campaign promise to reduce electricity prices won the hearts of voters before the 2016 general elections, which he eventually won.

One of the major promises Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made in 2016 to Ghanaian voters as he ran for president was to reduce what he described as “killer light bills”.

During his campaign as the leader of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), he labelled John Dramani Mahama, Ghana’s president at the time, as an insensitive leader over a government decision to increase electricity tariffs that year.

Akufo-Addo’s campaign promises ahead of the 2016 polls secured a first ever victory for him.

“If the government cannot or will not listen to the calls for the reduction of electricity tariffs, it is important for the people of Ghana to know that, God willing, if I win the elections later this year, I definitely will. I will definitely reduce electricity tariffs,” Akufo-Addo told Ghanaians on his social media page in 2016.

Akufo-Addo’s “Change” campaign brought about a ‘change’ many Ghanaians regretted later.

But after Ghanaians voted the National Democratic Congress (NDC) out of power in 2016, they are in a bubbling stew today about increasing electricity bills under the same Akufo-Addo who promised to reduce power prices if he became president.

Since Akufo-Addo took over the presidency, the NPP government has increased electricity tariffs multiple times not only to the citizens’ dismay but to their angst and wrath as well. Between July and October alone in 2019, electricity prices were increased twice. 

Akufo-Addo’s promise gained widespread publicity before the 2016 polls.

Currently, Ghana’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) has given the government a seven-day ultimatum to withdraw a tax imposed recently on electricity.

The ultimatum follows a directive the Ministry of Finance gave the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) in a letter dated January 1, 2024, to levy Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity consumption to raise revenue for a COVID-19 recovery programme.

“It is always the poor people in this country, including pensioners, who bear the brunt. And we should not allow that to continue.

“Organised Labour, we have come together and our message to the government is very simple: we cannot pay VAT on electricity. We will not pay it today or tomorrow. We are giving the government up to January 31, 2024, to withdraw the letter,” said the TUC’s Secretary General, Dr. Yaw Baah, at a news conference on Tuesday, 23 January 2024.

File photo: The TUC’s Secretary General, Dr. Yaw Baah.

Ghana is heading back to the polls in 2024, with Akufo-Addo expected to hand over power to the winner of the upcoming polls when his second term in office constitutionally comes to an end on Tuesday, 7 January 2025.  

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/


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