The Electronic Levy (E-Levy) introduced in the 2022 budget statement and economic policy of government is expected to generate substantial revenues to help address the development challenges facing the country, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr John Ampontuah Kumah, has said.
Speaking during a webinar on the 2022 budget for the Institute of Financial Journalists and the Parliamentary Press Corp in Accra yesterday, the Deputy Finance Minister, said the E-Levy was envisaged to bring in about GHC6.9 billion into government coffers in 2022.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, in the 2022 budget statement and economic policy of government presented to Parliament on November 17, 2021, announced the introduction of an E-Levy to impose 1.75 per cent tax on the value of digital transactions, and the abolishment of Road Tolls on public roads and bridges.
This year’s budget dubbed, ‘Agyenkwa budget’ literary meaning, ‘Saviour budget’ was on the theme: “Building a Sustainable Entrepreneurship Nation: Fiscal Consolidation and Job Creation.”
He said consultations were done with a section of the citizens before the levy was introduced, saying about 10,000 Ghanaians were “spoken to.”
“In our consultations, we observed that about 40 per cent of the respondents interviewed do not send more than GHC100.00 a day,” he said.
He said the E-Levy did not cover everybody and pointed out that loading of wallet or receiving mobile money as well as the first GHc100.00 transaction were exempted.
Dr Kumah said movement of money from wallet and vice versa would not attract charges under the E-Levy.
He said the Road Toll Levy was replaced with the E-Levy to rake in the necessary revenues to fix the country’s roads, pay contractors promptly and create jobs for the youth.
However, he said foreign trucks coming and leaving the country would go through the weighing scales to pay their tolls and levies.
The Deputy Minister said government could not pay contractors promptly because the Road Toll Levy did not rake in more money for government.
He said the Road Toll Levy accrued GH78 million a year, as compared with the E-Levy which was expected to generate GHc6.9 billion in 2022.
Dr Kumah said the E-Levy would help raise revenue to fund the YouStart programme, in which government had committed GHC10 billion for the programme, for the next three years, starting from 2022.
He said the workers manning the Road Tolls would continue to receive their salaries and allowances; the Ghana Highway Authority would reassign them.
He said the YouStart programme would be implemented through existing channels such as the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme and Ghana Enterprise Agency, and would build the capacity of the youth and support them to create their won businesses.
On debt, Dr Kumah said government was cautious not to increase the country debt which stands at GHC341 billion as of September this year.
To this end, he said government would reduce its Eurobond borrowing next year, saying government would borrowing $780 million in 2022, unlike the $3 billion borrowed in this year.
The President of IFEJ, Rayborn Bulley, said the 2022 budget is the “most difficult budget in recent past.”
He said there was much to do to achieve the targets set in the budget such as reducing the growing public debt and deficit.
Mr Bulley said government must rethink the source of funding for the Road Fund to be able to generate more funds to pay contractors and help reduce the agitations by the citizens for roads.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE