Benjamin Boakye, the Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), has expressed scepticism regarding the effectiveness of the new vehicle tax in reducing carbon emissions. Mr Boakye argues that the implementation of the Emissions Levy Act, 2023 (Act 1112) while imposing an additional financial burden on drivers, is unlikely to achieve its intended environmental objectives.
Mr Boakye contends that the new levy might not deter individuals from driving and emitting carbon, as it becomes an unavoidable expense for the average Ghanaian. He suggests that the government's focus on taxing vehicle ownership might lead to potential revenue loss, as people may seek ways to evade the tax.
“They know clearly that it's not about carbon. This is not going to prevent anybody from driving. They know you don't have a choice. You will have to pay for it. The carbon will still be generated because the Ghanaian will have to move from one point to the other. There's no way you are going to prevent people from polluting,” Mr Boakye stated.
Mr Boakye further criticizes the government's approach, asserting that instead of introducing a new vehicle tax, targeted taxes on specific activities could be more effective in raising revenue. He emphasizes the need for sensitivity to the financial constraints of the average Ghanaian who relies on personal vehicles for transportation.
The GRA announced the commencement of the Emissions Levy Act on February 1, 2024, to address greenhouse gas emissions. The implementation, however, faces scrutiny from critics like Boakye, who question its environmental impact and highlight concerns about potential tax evasion strategies by the public.