Minority will kick against e-levy – Haruna Iddrisu hints

The Minority in Parliament has hinted that it would kick against the approval of the e-levy when the House turns its attention to the consideration of the budget. 

It explained that, if approved, the levy would be a disincentive to the digital economy the country aims to build. 

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, presenting the 2022 budget statement and economic policy of government in Accra on Wednesday November 17, 2021, announced government’s intention to introduce a levy of 1.75 per cent to be charged on all electronic transactions effective January 1, 2022. 

He explained that: “A portion of the proceeds from the e-Levy will be used to support entrepreneurship, youth employment, cyber security, digital and road infrastructure among others.”

But the Minority said it was convinced the levy would be a disincentive to investment and private sector development in the country. 

“Mr Speaker, we in the Minority may not and will not support government with the introduction of that particular e-levy,” Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said at the opening session of a post budget workshop for MPs here in Ho on Saturday. 

The workshop brought together the Speaker,Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin and his deputies, MPs, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Charles AduBoahen, stakeholders from the various sectors of the economy and resource persons. 

The purpose of the meeting was for the MPs to have insight into the budget and prepare them for informed debate when the House resumes tomorrow for the debate. 

According to HarunaIddrisu,  in as much as his side of the House remains committed to assisting government in running the country, “We are unable to build national consensus on that particular matter.” 

In his view, the words of Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia that “why tax ordinary poor people,” still remain relevant because the poor in society would be disadvantaged by that policy. 

To him, the proposed tax is a tax on capital and not on revenue because “if a business man was to remit one million to buy spare parts in AbosseyOkai, he would lose 17,500 of that money. That is a tax on capital and not on revenue,” as it ought to be. 

“It will not promote an inclusive digital economy for our country and may even lead to double taxation. It’s danger to the economy is a move back to a cash functioning economy instead of a drive towards a cashless economy, and that remains the motivating factor for our fundamental objection,” the Tamale South NDC Member stated. 

He also expressed the Minority’s perpetual opposition to the Agyapa Minerals Royalty deal which the Finance Minister indicated would be reintroduced after the earlier one was botched. 

Securitisation and collateralisation, he said, have not helped Ghana in any way citing the Road Fund and GETFUND which were securitarised to raise money for some infrastructural projects. 

Doing so, he said, would only burden future generations; a reason he said they would not back the deal if it was brought back to the House. 

FROM JULIUS YAO PETETSI, HO

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