Economist and Founder of Worldwide Miracle Outreach, Reverend Dr. Lawrence Tetteh has charged the government to use diplomatic dialogue as part of efforts to pass the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy) bill.
Government is at a deadlock with the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) over the passage of the controversial E-levy bill.
While the government has argued that the levy is needed to shore up revenue to manage the country’s economic crisis, the NDC believes the levy is insensitive and will worsen the economic hardships in the country.
Speaking on The Pulse, Tuesday, Dr. Tetteh noted that both parties so far seem to have taken an entrenched position which has resulted in the deadlock over the passage of the bill.
“The truth is that it’s unfortunate but I have to say it. Ghanaian leaders are thinking about their political leadership much more than the nation because I think that by now there should have been a point of convergence. I believe behind the scene talks with the Minority leader, Majority leader, and reps from the two houses can sit down and see a point of convergence. If you look at all the debate that we are seeing, it’s either the debate is for the NPP or the debate is for the NDC,” he said.
According to him, the current situation of a hung Parliament is a time of test for Ghana’s democracy which calls for a more diplomatic approach between the two major political parties in the country.
“Our leaders must go back to the drawing board again. We should make sure we think of Ghana first before we think of our political party,” he added.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, presenting the 2022 budget on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, announced that government intends to introduce an electronic transaction levy (e-levy).
The levy, he revealed, is being introduced to “widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector”. This followed a previous announcement that the government intends to halt the collection of road tolls.
The proposed levy, which was expected to come into effect in January 2022, charges 1.75% on the value of electronic transactions. It covers mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances. There is an exemption for transactions up to GH¢100 per day.
Explaining the government’s decision, the Finance Minister revealed that the total digital transactions for 2020 were estimated to be over GH¢500 billion (about $81 billion) compared to GH¢78 billion ($12.5 billion) in 2016.
Thus, the need to widen the tax net to include the informal sector.
Although the government has argued that it is an innovative way to generate revenue, scores of citizens and stakeholders have expressed varied sentiments on its appropriateness, with many standing firmly against it.
Even though others have argued in support of the levy, a section of the populace believe that the 1.75% e-levy is an insensitive tax policy that will deepen the already prevailing hardship in the country.
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