The government yesterday re-stated its case for Ghanaians to embrace the proposed Electronic Transaction Levy (E-Levy), assuring that it will give account of the money accrued and use it for its intended purpose.
At its second Town Hall meeting on the levy, held at Sekondi in the Western Region, Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, said there would be quarterly reports on the levy, when passed for implementation.
First held in Koforidua in the Eastern Region last week, the Town Hall meeting is meant to give the opportunity for citizens to engage more with the government to understand the benefits of the E-Levy when passed.
The government delegation included Minister of Information, KojoOppong Nkrumah and his deputy,FatimatuAbubakari; Western and Central Regional Ministers, KwabenaDarko-Mensah and Justina Assan respectively and Member of Parliament for Sekondi and Deputy Energy Minister, Andrew Egyapa Mercer.
They took turns to explain how the levy would help improve infrastructure, youth employment and entrepreneurship at the event attended by diverse people drawn from the region.
Mr Ofori-Atta said it was not the best that only 2.5 million people in the country paid tax and with about 21 million mobile money subscribers in the system, implementing the E-Levy would help shore up taxes for road construction and interventions to curb youth unemployment.
Over the last four years, he said, the government had invested millions in various areas including education and with the levy, it was poised to do more to make life comfortable for Ghanaians.
He said the call on the citizenry to accept the levy was hinged on a desire to hasten the development of the country by giving them the opportunity to contribute to the attainment of this goal.
Mr Ofori-Atta explained that the levy would not cover cumulative transfers of GHC100 per day made by the same person; transfers between accounts owned by the same person; transfers for the payment of taxes, fees and charges on the Ghana.gov platform; electronic clearing of cheques and specified merchant payments.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the levy was critical to the development of the country as more people would be given the opportunity to contribute to national growth through payment of taxes.
He said it was not true that the government was pursuing the levy to fund any lavish lifestyle of the executive arm of the government but to provide for the needs of the people.
Mr Darko-Mensah said the youth constituted 62 per cent of residents in the region and the levy would help create entrepreneurship avenues for them as the formal sector could not provide jobs for all of them.
“The E-Levy would not worsen the plight of the people, but would help build the Ghana we all want. Let us not run away from it. Let us rather work together to build the country,” he said.
The E-Levy is a new tax measure introduced by the government in the 2022 budget on basic transactions related to digital payments and electronic platforms. It was 1.75 per cent but reduced to 1.5 per cent after further consultation.It is yet to be passed by parliament, where it has been a subject of controversy and brawl since last year.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR