A new National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, will repeal the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy) Act if voted into power in 2025, Former President John Mahama, has promised.
“We in the NDC do not oppose taxation as a principle. We will not be pretentious and couch fanciful slogans to condemn the principle of taxation like the New Patriotic Party (NPP) did in the past.
“We are, however, implacably opposed to distortionary and burdensome taxes like the e-levy that only force Ghanaians to endure more suffering”, said the 2020 NDC flag bearer when he delivered a public lecture on Monday.
Attended by top functionaries and rank and file of the party, the lecture which was on the theme “Ghana at a crossroads” touched on the economic situation in the country.
The e-levy bill was passed on March 29, after the Minority caucus washed their hands off any associated procedures on the levy, and staged a walkout in the middle of sitting.
Two days afterwards, President Nana Akufo-Addo assented to the law which his government says would give other people the opportunity to contribute to national development as only an estimated two million pay taxes.
The Minority Caucus is in court challenging the passage of the E-levy bill which kicked in on Sunday with a 1.5 per cent levy on all electronic money transfers that are done in a day and above GH¢100.
According to Former President Mahama, in the face of the economic catastrophe of the country, the government against all sound advice decided to introduce the E-Levy, which he described as a regressive tax that heaps more suffering on Ghanaians.
“Already there is a litany of complaints about the implementation. There are complaints of transfers of under GHS100 being subject to tax contrary to the law.
The Government’s desperation to tax Ghanaians to get the nation out of the hell hole it has dumped us will not succeed because Government’s own budget proposals show that the e-levy will not make any significant contribution in resolving our problems but would exert an adverse toll on the people of Ghana”, he said.
For President Mahama said even as this government remains fixated with taxing their way out of economic mismanagement, the Akufo-Addo government had failed to demonstrate prudence in public financial management to the detriment of the citizenry especially in the areas of education, health, and social housing.
To back the claim of corruption, he cited that 2020 Auditor-General’s report’srevelation that a colossal GH¢12 billion was lost to corruption and other forms of financial malpractices in 2020 alone and recent report that State-Owned Enterprises made total losses of about GH¢5.3 billion in 2020.
He said the government, instead of honouring its promises to Ghanaians and addressing the economic situation, he said, the government had been hiding behind excuses including the COVID-19 pandemic, Ukraine/Russia war, excess energy capacity.
“Ghana our dear nation is at a Crossroads, and we must tarry a while and reflect deeply on the road that we must take. The wrong choice leads us down an easy path of chaos and destruction. The right choice would lead us up a path of prosperity and dignity, but with hard work and sacrifice”, he said.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR