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“Fixing and Unfixing It”- Unpacking the Lazy, Unproductive Politicking of Ghana – Kenneth Kuranchie

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Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie, BA, LLB.

Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie, BA, LLB.

It is a truism that in politics, creating mass hysteria can be beneficial by way of the ballot box.

If one can find an emotionally charged theme, sum it up with a few catch phrases and put it on the radar of the mass consciousness, one can ride it to the highest political pinnacle.

Such a politician can use this emotionally charged issue like the red flag of a matador waved in front of a charging bull, and lure the bull (the public), literally to the death.

This tactic can be even more beneficial when the targeted politician or political entity carelessly hands over to the opponent golden nuggets and gems that can be used as political tinder to burn and chase the targeted political entity out of office.

History is replete with all manner of politicians who created a cause célèbre (a controversial issue that attracts a great deal of public attention), and then rode it like a rampaging horse to political power. And history is similarly replete with politicians who gifted their opponents the cause célèbre with which to take them out of power.

One such cause célèbre seems to have cropped up naturally (unnaturally?) around the “Fix the Country” campaign, and its counter-campaigners, on the recently introduced tax increases in Ghana, which has led to increments in petroleum products and telecommunication services.

The ‘Fix the Country’ campaigners insist that these measures are causing too much hardship.

The government recently imposed taxes on petroleum and communication
services to pay for the cost of fighting Covid-19 pandemic.

It is true that costs of petrol and communication services have gone up since May 1 st , 2021. The reasons are not far to seek.

Government has introduced a number of taxes for a number of reasons, most, if not all, to take effect from May 1 st , 2021.

An announcement by the Ghana Revenue Authority ahead of the May 1 st listed some of the taxes as
follows;
2. COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy Act, 2021 (Act 1068)
This Act imposes a one percent levy on the supply of goods and services made in the country other than exempt
goods or services; and import of goods and services other than exempt imports.
The Levy also applies to the supply of goods subject to the VAT Flat Rate.
The COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy is not allowable as an input tax deduction
3. Financial Sector Recovery Levy Act, 2021 (Act 1067)
This Act imposes a five percent levy on the profit before tax of banks
The tax is payable in quarterly instalments. However, for 2021, the levy is payable in three instalments
commencing from 30th June 2021.
4. Energy Sector Levy (Amendment) Act, 2021 (Act 1064):
This amendment has added two additional sections, 5A and 5B
5A – The imposition of an Energy Sector Recovery Levy of GH¢20 pesewas per litre of petrol/diesel and 18 pesewas
per kg on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)
5B – The imposition of a Sanitation and Pollution Levy of GH¢10 pesewas per litre of petrol and diesel respectively.
To do justice to the subject, one must go back and look at each imposed tax, in turn, and establish whether these
taxes are necessary. It will become clear, presently, that some of these taxes are good and beneficial, and some
are outright crass.
Like all controversial debates, no side is completely right, and no side is completely wrong. And interestingly, not
all the possible solutions that could have prevented us getting to this sorry pass, is on the table. And as for the
solutions beyond the screaming, they would simply be lost beyond the cacophony.
Indeed, to do a dispassionate discussion of the issue, the first line of the press statement issued by the Ghana
Revenue Authority (GRA), when it made the announcement on these taxes is instructive. The GRA stated, “The
Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority brings to the notice of the general public, especially
taxpayers that Parliament has passed three new tax laws and amended two existing laws to be implemented in
2021.”
To do justice to the subject, one must go back and look at each imposed tax, in turn, and establish whether these
taxes are necessary.

The statement “Parliament has passed” is especially instructive. In effect, these taxes were approved by the
nation’s parliament, in which the Majority hangs on that majority votes by the closest of margins. It means that the
opposition holds inordinate amount of leverage. Yet, the Majority, representing the government, and the
Moinority, representing the leading opposition party, saw nothing wrong with ALL the new taxes they were to
impose.
Now, are all these taxes necessary? We may need to study each tax in turn.
First, the COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy Act, 2021 (Act 1068), which imposes a 1% tax on all goods and services
emanating from the country.
Without doubt, Ghana’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic was star performance, and a study of how other
nations have fared, should tell us that we are not out of the woods yet. A 1% tax on goods and services, in my
humble opinion, should not lead to increments in prices, if industry were sincere to take a little less profit as a
contribution to the Covid effort. This is especially so, in that Ghana, like the rest of the world, is not out of the
Covid menace yet. It is all too possible that the world may need to undergo a second wave of a more virulent strain
of Covid. Government can only take the steps necessary to be taken to save lives, if government is certain that the
people on whose behalf it takes the tough decisions, would follow it when it comes time to pay up. This is not
partisanship. This is reality. However, it is all too clear that the nature of politics we do in this country is a politics
fuelled by a ‘scorched earth’ policy, that is, destroy everything in your path, including the positives, if necessary, in
order to capture the state, because your principal aim is not to build, but to capture the nation, steal as much as
you can, and when the people catch up with you at the ballot box, as they surely will do one day, to hand over until
you can trick them to give you the mandate in a few years’ time. That is the NDC’s position, which is why it makes
very little noise in parliament, and raises Cain out of parliament, because the Covid tax is good in the short,
medium and longterm.
Indeed all political actors should come out in immediate support of the COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy. We
committed the debt, and we need to pay it up. And it may save even more lives, yet.
The second is the Financial Sector Recovery Levy Act, 2021 (Act 1067).
This Act imposes a five percent levy on the profit before tax of banks.
The tax is payable in quarterly instalments. However, for 2021, the levy is payable in three instalments
commencing from 30th June 2021.
My opinion, is that this levy is unnecessary, and should not have been passed in the first place, if our members of
parliament on both sides knew what they were doing. Indeed, the so-called Financial Sector Recovery program is a
self-imposed hardship that the Ofori Atta Administration at the Ministry of Finance has inflicted on itself, and has
no moral and legal authority to pass onto the people of Ghana. This program arises out of the so-called collapse of
some private banks and financial institutions. I believe that if these banks and financial institutions had been
mismanaged and were collapsing, the sensible thing to do would have been to allow them to collapse, so that
other more efficiently managed banks would see the example of perfidious mismanagement.
To assume ownership of these financial institutions, and to seek to manage them as viable business entities, on the
back of tax payers, is unnatural, and if the history of all state banks in the past is anything to go by, would end up
with the same fate. There is also a very real possibility that down the line, Ghana would pay judgment debts for
the decisions taken with regard to these banks. All of which would have been avoided, if we had just cold-
bloodedly stood by and allowed them to collapse.
We should have just let them collapse, so that people learn the necessary lessons.
The third tax is the Energy Sector Levy (Amendment) Act, 2021 (Act 1064). This amendment has added two
additional sections, 5A and 5B.
5A is the imposition of an Energy Sector Recovery Levy of GH¢20 pesewas per litre of petrol/diesel and 18 pesewas
per kg on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), and 5B is the imposition of a Sanitation and Pollution Levy of GH¢10
pesewas per litre of petrol and diesel respectively.
As off the writing of this piece, I lack the exact figures on exactly what amounts the government seeks to make up,
what are the expected volumes of fuel products on which it is presumed to make up the fiscal shortage that the
government seeks to make up with 5A, and the duration of the period in which this levy would remain imposed. A
certain degree of education, on why the levy, and why it is pegged at the current levels, and for how long it is to be
imposed, would have been instructive. However, whatever, Ghanaians have still not forgotten the Energy Sector
Recovery levy, whose operations remain in great opacity to date, and the mention of whose name send both NDC
and NPP into great shivers.

With 5B, I dare say that it is one of the crassest decisions taken in our history in recent times, the so-called ‘Borla
Levy”, and parliament should very speedily go back into sitting and scrap this levy. Indeed, no member of
parliament, particularly those in NPP and NDC, should have the nerve of acknowledging the hardship that
Ghanaians go through, because Ghana does not need to impose collective taxation on a sensitive product like fuel
to ensure that we manage sanitation and pollution effectively.
It is a tax intended to rake in free money, hundreds of millions of dollars, for a particular company in Ghana. It is
totally immoral, and should be scrapped forthwith, and it is scary that any government would seek to bring about
any such law, and that a group of 275 men and women, who live on the taxpayer, would seek to impose such an
irresponsible tax on the same tax payer.
To the ruling government, the screaming that we are hearing from the population, castigating the government, is
purely self-imposed, and if we the members of this ruling government are not careful, we are just hammering the
nails in our coffin, for just thirty silver pieces.
We should remove the Zoomlion “Borla” Tax before it sends us to opposition, sooner than later.

 

Source: GhanaSky.com | Kenneth Agyei Kuranchie

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Egypt beat Cameroon 3-1 on penalties to reach final (Video)

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Egypt beat Cameroon on penalties

Egypt beat Cameroon on penalties

Egypt are through to the final of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations after beating hosts Cameroon 3-1 on penalties at the end of a goalless 120 minutes in Yaounde on Thursday.

Goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal was the hero for the Egyptians, saving from both Harold Moukoudi and James Lea-Siliki in the shoot-out at the Olembe Stadium before Clinton Njie blazed wide with Cameroon’s last chance to keep their dream alive.

Salah, usually the fifth penalty-taker for his country, was not needed as Egypt advance to a final showdown against Senegal at the Olembe Stadium on Sunday.

That will see Salah come up against his Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane, with the Pharaohs chasing a record-extending eighth African crown while Senegal continue their search for their first title.

Cameroon, meanwhile, see their hopes of AFCON glory on home soil ended in cruel fashion, and they must still get through a third-place play-off against Burkina Faso this weekend.

Cameroon captain Vincent Abubakar pass up a glorious chance to open the scoring early in the second half when a dreadfully short back-pass by Martin Hongla sent him clear.

After trying to knock the ball round Andre Onana, the Cameroon goalkeeper successfully stopped him just outside the box.

Cameroon during the penalty shoot out during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Semifinal match between Cameroon and Egypt held at Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon on 03 February 2022
Aboubakar also struggled to make an impact, although the hosts had dominated the first half and almost went ahead in the 18th minute when Michael Ngadeu rose to head a corner off the woodwork.

Samuel Oum Gouet also saw a long-range piledriver clip the left upright in the second half.

Meanwhile the Egyptians went down at every opportunity, regularly looking to eat up time and frustrate their opponents.

Usually they eventually stood up again unscathed, although centre-back Mahmoud Hamdy El Wensh needed a bandage on a first-half head wound.

At least they ended the game with 11 players, but coach Carlos Queiroz — whose assistant was serving a ban here — was shown a red card as the end of normal time loomed after losing his temper on the touchline.

This was Egypt’s third extra time in as many knockout ties, after they needed penalties to beat the Ivory Coast in the last 16 and an extra half-hour to get the better of Morocco in the quarter-finals.

Extra time passed with penalties always seeming inevitable, and Aboubakar was the only successful taker for Cameroon as they go out.

Man of the Match Mohamed Abdelmonem of Egypt during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Semifinal match between Cameroon and Egypt held at Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon on 03 February 2022
What they said

Watch Cameroon vs Egypt Highlights

“It was a good match for us. A difficult match against a good Cameroonian team but our team knew how to make the difference with a Mohamed Salah who supported us throughout the match like a great leader. Thank God, we succeeded in our penalty shootout to secure a place in the final”.

“Each time, the Egyptian team are favorites to win the tournament. Tonight we played the usual game and we managed to reach the final. I would like to thank our coach Carlos Queiroz who was expelled during the game as well as all the players who made the difference with their ardor and grinta throughout the tournament. We are happy, it’s true, but we have not yet reached the final objective: the coronation. I can also add that our background is also due to the presence of one of the great players in our training, namely Mohamed Salah. A very essential player in our team and who remains the centerpiece for us”.

“The team played well during the 90′ ​​trying to score goals but we didn’t succeed. We are as sad as the 27 million Cameroonians, but I think the Egyptian team knew how to counter us. We We’re sad but it’s the reality. The players felt some signs of fatigue at the end of the match, especially after a very physical and intense first half. We had tried to save our energy to counter the opponent but in vain.”

Credit: cafonline

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Senegal vs Burkina Faso 3-1, Clinical Senegal down Burkina Faso 3-1 to qualify to Sunday’s final

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Senegal vs Burkina Faso 3-1

Senegal vs Burkina Faso 3-1

The Teranga Lions of Senegal produced a brilliant second half performance to beat Burkina Faso 3-1 to qualify into Sunday’s TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021 final.

Defender Abdou Diallo started the party for the 2019 losing finalists when he calmly slotted in from close range on 71 minutes.

The PSG defender kept his cool inside the Burkinabe box after Koulibaly’s volley fell on his path before guiding his shot past substitute keeper Soufiane Ouedraogo.
Saliou Ciss of Senegal challenged by Burkina Faso captain Bertrand Traore during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Semifinal match between Burkina Faso and Senegal

The West African derby lived up to it’s billing at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé with Senegal having two penalty claims turned down following VAR reviews.

With an eventful first half which saw the two teams cancelled each other in the middle of the park. Saliou Ciss came close for the Lions of Teranga with low fierce drive past Koffi’s far post on 14 minutes.

Edouard Mendy pulled a smart low save on towards his right to deny Burkinabe forward Hassane Bande seven minutes before the break.

The Stallions were forced to change their goalkeeper Kouakou Koffi following a collision with Senegal’s Cheikhou Kouyate.
Sadio Mane of Senegal challenged by Adama Guira of Burkina Faso during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Semifinal match between Burkina Faso and Senegal

The second half saw both sides going for the breakthrough and it was the Teranga Lions who scored first through Abdou Diallo.

The young defender found the back of the net from close range before Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Dieng doubled their lead from Sadio Mané’s clever cut back.

With time running out the Stallions pulled a goal back eight minutes from time when midfielder Ibrahim Blati Toure latched on to Issa Kabore’s cross.
Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Dieng of Senegal celebrates goal with teammates during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Semifinal match between Burkina Faso and Senegal

Kabore was picked out by captain and talisman Bertrand Traore on the right and the forward placed an inviting delivery towards advancing Toure to slot past Mendy.

The two-time losing finalists completed their task on 83 minutes through star man Sadio Mané. The Liverpool forward showcased his class with he stylishly dinked his effort past Soufiane Ouedraogo to send Senegal to their third TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations final.

Senegal will face the winner in the second semi-final between Egypt and hosts Cameroon in Sunday’s final at the Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé.

 

Credit: cafonline

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Let your lifestyle reflect your preaching – Rev Eastwood Anaba to Pastors

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Rev Eastwood Anaba to Pastors

Rev Eastwood Anaba to Pastors

Rev Eastwood Anaba, the President of the Eastwood Anaba Ministries (EAM) says Pastors must live lifestyles that reflect the gospel of Jesus Christ which they preach to their congregations.

He said if the lifestyles of Pastors contradicted the messages they preached, they had no business with the holy pulpit and altar of God, saying “In the beginning was the word, the word was with God and that word was God.”

Likewise, he said Pastors must be the messages they preach, “So your message must be you, and you must be your message. Christianity is in crisis because many Pastors are preaching what they are not.”

Reverend Anaba, who is also the Founder of Fountain Gate Chapel (FGC), said this in a sermon at the Church’s 31 days programme, which began on January 1, on the theme; “Reposition”, held at Desert Pastures, a branch of FGC in Bolgatanga, capital of the Upper East Region.

The programme, which is the maiden event of the Church in 2022, brought together members of FGC for “repentance, revival, and restoration to reposition” them for a “new experience” in 2022.

Reverend Anaba told his congregation including Pastors of the Church that “Preparing a sermon does not give you the opportunity to preach, being a sermon is what allows you to preach.

“When you prepare the sermon and what you say is who you are, that is the time you qualify to preach,” noting that Pastors who indulged in fornication and adultery had no right to talk about holiness.

The Cleric emphasized that some Pastors were “Preaching messages that they not. Nevertheless, the foundation of God stands sure. The Lord knows them that are His, and let every man who mentions the name of Christ, depart from iniquity.”

He prayed that God would touch the lives of Pastors to preach His true gospel, live their lifestyles according to their sermons, and be role models to their congregation and members of the public.

“I pray in the name of Jesus; may God touch your life as a man and a woman of God. I see you take responsibility and say God can trust me,” the EAM President said.

 

Credit: GNA

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