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The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) has called on the government to take practical and immediate steps to ease the economic hardships currently facing many Ghanaians, especially the teaming unemployed youth.
The Council said it is particularly worried about the rippling effects of the recent rampant fuel price increases, which has affected the prices of food items in the market and threatening the very survival of many families and small businesses.
The Council stated that the recent mass recruitment exercises into the various security agencies is a pointer and an early warning signal that all is not well “with the situation of our energetic youth whose economic woes are being worsened by the ongoing economic hardships.”
The Council in a statement said: “For instance, the current fuel situation and the recent temporary suspension of the Price Stabilisation Recovery Levy (PSRL) is not far reaching enough to cushion Ghanaians and government should have a second look at this since the purpose of the levy was savings meant to cushion the population in times like these when international oil prices hit the roof.”
While commending government for the temporary two-month suspension of the PSRL, the Council noted that it is their view that this is not far reaching enough and, therefore, appealing to the government to take the following practical measures to ease the current economic hardship faced by Ghanaians by:
1. Reviewing downward or outright removal of some of the taxes and levies on refined petroleum products at the pump and release into the system all funds accruing from the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy to stabilize the price of fuel for the consumer. In fact that is the purpose for which the levy was passed into law by Parliament.
2. Take all fiscal and monetary measures to stabilize the depreciating local currency against the US dollar to further stablise the prices of petroleum products and other imports whose prices are impacting negatively on the purchasing power of the ordinary citizen.
3. Review downwards duties on some imported commodities, especially those on building materials and other essential commodities to relieve Ghanaians of the very high residential rental prices being demanded by property owners.
The Council reassured the government of its support, especially under its partnership with government on the “YouBanc” programme to facilitate access to youth enterprise development and employment through TVET skills acquisition.
“It is our hope and expectations that the above suggestions would find space in the Minister of Finance’s 2022 budget statement scheduled to be delivered to Parliament on Wednesday 17th November 2021,” the statement said.