“What is the sense in seeking to raise GHC6.9 billion through the e-levy when more than twice that amount would be lost through preventable and deliberate corrupt practices by individuals and institutions at the expense of the very few taxpayers who are still being over-taxed?” the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) has asked.
The government wants to introduce a 1.75% e-levy on all electronic transactions to raise revenue but the idea has been shot down by the opposition NDC and its Minority in parliament as well as a section of the populace.
The GPCC says it does not see the need for such a levy when at the end of the day the revenue raised would be lost through graft.
The Council’s concern stems from the 2020 Auditor-General’s report which said some GHC12.8 billion has been lost to the state occasioned by infractions and other irregularities by statutory institutions.
The Council in its Christmas message noted that although the government has taken many initiatives over the last few years to strengthen and resource the country’s anti-corruption institutions to execute their mandate, “it is our considered opinion that these efforts are not yielding the desired results as indicated by the Auditor General’s Reports”.
To this end, the Council is calling on the government to, in the coming year, take practical steps to retrieve all such funds that have been reported to have gone missing through the several Auditor-General’s reports, including prosecuting persons through whose actions such financial irregularities occur.
The Christian body also appealed to all Ghanaians to celebrate the festive season in moderation and eschew all vices that may end up in disaster.
“We urge all motorists to be extra patient, tolerant and cautious to avoid needless accidents, injuries and deaths on our roads,” the statement noted.
“We hope the increased police visibility on our major highways and communities ahead of the Christmas and New Year festivities will instil discipline in motorists on our roads and criminals in the society to ensure that citizens spend the Yuletide in peace and security,” it added.
The council advised Ghanaians to commit themselves collectively as patriotic citizens to serving mother Ghana in whatever small way they can towards improving the socio-economic wellbeing of the country in the new year, 2022.
Below are details of the council’s full statement:
GHANA PENTECOSTAL AND CHARISMATIC COUNCIL (GPCC)
December 23, 2021
CHRISTMAS AND END OF YEAR MESSAGE TO THE NATION
The President and the entire National Executive Council of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) wish all Ghanaians a Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New year. As we remember the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in this festive season, our message to all Ghanaians is one of Peace, Love and Reconciliation (Goodwill) from God towards all mankind as recorded in Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace, and goodwill towards men”. As we are all aware, the year 2021 has been quite eventful in many respects, including the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic early in the year with its socio-economic ramifications, coinciding with the inauguration of the historic 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
As we count our blessings one by one as a Nation and as individuals, let us remind ourselves of the significance of Christmas; the demonstration of God’s greatest gift of Love to humanity through the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ into the world. Let us, as a nation emerging from a rancorous period of political disagreements and extreme partisanship, allow this Love of God to permeate every facet of our national life by demonstrating that spirit of reconciliation towards one another, just as God reconciled the world to Himself through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is within this context that we wish to send out to all Ghanaians our message of Love, Peace, Reconciliation and Goodwill during this festive season.
Building Political Consensus
The Council recalls the most embarrassing moments witnessed in the history of our Parliamentary democracy ahead of the inauguration of the 8th Parliament in January and during the 2022 budget approval processes when our Law Makers threw caution to the winds to engage in fisticuffs in the full glare of the cameras in complete disregard for the dignity of Parliament and the people they represent. It is our prayer and hope that our Members of Parliament would use this period of Goodwill and Reconciliation to soberly reflect on their actions during the year and commit to total consensus building and dialogue in the coming year to resolve all their differences and seeking at all times to serving the collective will and aspirations of the people of Ghana whose mandate they are exercising.
While calling on Members of the Legislature from both sides of the political divide to make consensus building the norm and not an exception in all their deliberations in the coming year, we equally call on the President of the Republic and his team of Ministers to take a cue from the current composition of the 8th Parliament and gauge the mood of Ghanaians that genuine dialogue and consensus-building is what they voted for in 2020.
We are therefore by this message of Goodwill appealing to all Ghanaians, especially, the Political parties to exhibit the greatest sense of tolerance in our political discourse, eschewing extreme partisanship and seeking consensus building in all our engagements with the ultimate aim of building a peaceful and united Ghana. It is our prayer that all of us will approach our work in the coming year with diligence, trust and cooperation in the interest of mother Ghana.
There is no gainsaying that the current global economic crisis occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic is continuing to wreak havoc on many economies, especially the least developed ones including Ghana. The rising national debt levels, inflation and unemployment, especially among the youth in recent times have further widened the inequality gap, thus, increasing hardships of many Ghanaians. It is the prayer of the Council that God will grant the economic management team wisdom and understanding in the coming year to navigate the economy to still waters to alleviate the hardships faced by the citizenry.
Fight against Corruption
The Report of the Auditor-General 2020 suggests a leaky public purse occasioned by infractions and other irregularities by statutory institutions to the tune of GHS12.8 billion. While the Council will continue to applaud the government for the many initiatives taken over the last few years to strengthen and resource our anti-corruption institutions to execute their mandate, it is our considered opinion that these efforts are not yielding the desired results as indicated by the Auditor General’s Reports and therefore calls on government to in the coming year take practical steps in retrieving all such funds reported missing through the several Auditor General’s Reports, including prosecuting persons through whose actions such financial irregularities occur. For what is the sense in seeking to raise GHS6.9 billion through the E-Levy when more than twice that amount would be lost through preventable and deliberate corrupt practices by individuals and institutions at the expense of the very few taxpayers who are still being over-taxed?
Fight against Covid-19
The zeal with which we all collectively fought the COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana from the outset of the pandemic in early 2020 seems to be waning in recent times and much worrying is the latest upsurge in daily infection from 40 to over 400 in the last four days. We are once again appealing to our members and Ghanaians, in general, to continue to observe the COVID-19 restriction protocols while urging all to patronize the ongoing vaccination exercise aimed at protection and prevention.
As we travel to our various towns, villages and hamlets to celebrate Christmas and the New Year, we appeal to all to celebrate in moderation, eschewing all vices that may end up in disaster. We urge all motorists to be extra patient, tolerant and cautious to avoid needless accidents, injuries and deaths on our roads.
We hope the increased Police visibility on our major highways and communities ahead of the Christmas and New Year festivities will instil discipline in motorists on our roads and criminals in the society to ensure that citizens spend the Yuletide in peace and security.
As we enter 2022, let us commit ourselves collectively as patriotic citizens to serving mother Ghana in whatever small way we can towards improving the socio-economic wellbeing of our Country.
On behalf of all National Executive Council Members and Heads of Member Churches, I wish all Ghanaians a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New year.
For: Rev. Prof. Paul Frimpong-Manso