On Tuesday, this week, we used this column to express concern over the attitude of members of the Asokwa Municipal Assembly in the Kumasi Metropolis.
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Finance, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Land Valuation Board had, after long negotiations, agreed that a third party should be collecting property rates on behalf of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies.
This was after the government realised that the assemblies were unable to collect the property rates due to their failure to properly value landed properties in their respective jurisdictions.
This development was duly communicated to the assemblies and all their officials were aware of the situation. Unfortunately, just as the implementation of the policy started, the Asokwa assembly members called a news conference to allege that they were not happy with the decision to take the right to collect the property rates away from them.
In the Editorial we are referencing, we argued that the members of the Asokwa Municipal Assembly were being mischievous, because they knew right from day one that the Land Valuation Board was going to value the property, with the GRA collecting the approved fees from the property owners on behalf of the respective assemblies.
They also knew that each assembly was entitled to 70% of the revenue that would be generated, yet they called a news conference to tell the world that they did not know what was happening. We contended that the attitude of always trying to torpedo government policies must stop.
Regrettably, before this issue could settle down, some gas refilling station operators in Accra were also expressing reservations about the Cylinder Recirculation Model (CRM) being introduced by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA). According to them, the initiative could negatively impact many low-income consumers, as well as businesses and jobs in the industry.
The Ghana News Agency (GNA) quoted a certain Mr. Nuhu Chamba, a gas refilling attendant at Avenor, as saying that those who do not buy gas in standardised quantities, but rather according to how much they could afford, would be affected by the new policy.
“For example, five kilogrammes goes for GH¢64.15, six kilogrammes for GH¢77, seven kilogrammes for GH¢90 and eight kilogrammes for GH¢103, but usually when customers come, they would buy GH¢20, GH¢30, GH¢50, GH¢60, GH¢70 and so on. And you have to fill it for them.
“Now under the CRM, the cylinder will be filled according to standardised quantities. So, how do you cater for all those customers who cannot afford it?” he asked. Mr. Chamba was also concerned about how to assure consumers that the quantity they were paying for was exactly what had been put into the cylinder.
Like the Asokwa Municipal Assembly members, these gas attendants and their owners have been well educated on the new policy, but because some people are going to lose some illegal incomes, they are fighting against it.
The Chronicle urges the NPA not to fall for this bait, but push forward with the policy that will obviously benefit the larger population. The concerns raised by Mr. Nuhu Chamba and his ilk had already been addressed by the NPA, but because he is simply against the new policy, he pretends as if he was not aware. We certainly cannot build Mother Ghana with this kind of attitude, and that is why The Chronicle is calling the NPA to go ahead with the new policy.