In a media conference on Sunday, TUC General Secretary, Clemence Kanau, said the tax issue will be a mainstay of TUC’s agenda this year.
He said while the government has announced in the 2019 Budget an increase in the ‘Tax Threshold,’ the rising cost of goods and services still remain a critical factor diminishing the purchasing power of workers.
Kanau said the tax regime has for far too long been a burden on the workers, and coupled with inflation moves them into the poverty line.
The TUC will make a strong stance against this.
“At the Trade Union Congress, this year the agenda of Tax will be an important issue. We’re calling on all our affiliates of the Trade Union Congress, in the first quarter of this year we will conduct a series of meetings and we will lobby our affiliates to raise concerns in the individuals sectors in the public and private employment, and we are going to raise this issue with the Government to find an amicable playing field where we give some relief to our workers,” said Kanau.
While the TUC welcomes the Government exemptions from Personal Income Tax (PIT), the rising cost of living and goods and services still diminishes any purchasing power they have.
“It (price) has not gone up by 1 or 2%, they’ve gone up by 15% to 25%. And these are increases in the food basket of individual families in the country,” he added.
The TUC will also what they call are unfair tax structure highlighting Treasury’s forecasts of PIT and Mining and Petroleum Tax as one of the examples.
Other issues the TUC have vowed to pursue are Tax exemptions on multinational companies, tax evasion by foreign and domestic companies, and increased tariff on imports, among others.
In the meantime they have suggested other ways forward which include:
- Adoption of a new tax model comparable to Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand;
- Increase the Minimum Wage to K5 per hour from K3.50 per hour;
- Fast track review of key labour and employment legislations and policies;
- Strengthening of ‘Inspections and Enforcement of Labour Standards;’
- Commit to set up the ‘Labour Market Information System;’ and
- Setting up of the ‘National Skills Development Authority.’