By Alex Osei-Boateng
? ?The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said it would block the implementation of the newly-introduced 17.5 percent tax on selected petroleum products.Petroleum
?? The Special Petroleum Tax law is part of measures adopted by government to increase revenue generation as contained in its 2015 budget statement and economic policy read by minister of Finance Seth Terkper on Wednesday.
?? The imposition of the 17.5 percent tax on petroleum products will result in some three percent rise in petroleum prices, according to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).
?? The petroleum products to be affected include petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), natural gas, and kerosene.
?? The bill was later presented to the House under a certificate of urgency.
?? An amount of about 1.541 billion cedis or 0.496 million U.S. dollars is expected to be realized from the implementation of the tax between November this year, and December 2015.
?? The accrued money would be used to support the implementation of the 2015 budget to meet social interventions goals, according to Terkper.
?? After going through a third reading, the bill was unanimously approved by the majority in Parliament without the minority taking part.
?? The minority said it would resist the policy which it claimed would further impoverish the citizenry who are already suffering under harsh economic conditions.
?? The General Secretary of the NPP, Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, said, with the imposition of this new tax on petroleum products, the government had shown again that it did not care about ordinary entrepreneurs, farmers, teachers, civil servants, and university students who already spent greater part of their income on transportation.
?? ?We will fight for the ordinary people of Ghana as we always do by opposing insensitive policies by this incompetent Mahama government,? he said.
?? The Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, described the decision as ?appalling?, and said the budget, which was supposed to be pro-poor, had rather proven that government ?doesn?t care about the poor?.
?? Meanwhile, the chief executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Moses Asaga, has allayed the fears of Ghanaians that the 17.5 percent would translate into an upward adjustment of transport fares.
?? He assured the public that an existing agreement between the transports unions, NPA and the Ministry of Transport, would ensure that transport fares were not increased with this new tax.


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