Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Adenta, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, has lauded the government’s e-levy initiative aimed at taxing Ghanaians on mobile money and bank transfers.
The e-levy was announced by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, during his presentation of the 2022 budget statement at Parliament on Wednesday, November 7, 2021.
The Minister underscored the need for the e-levy saying, “after considerable deliberations, Government has decided to place a levy on all electronic transactions to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector. This shall be known as the ‘Electronic Transaction Levy or E-Levy.’ Electronic transactions covering mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments and inward remittances will be charged at an applicable rate of 1.75%, which shall be borne by the sender except inward remittances, which will be borne by the recipient”.
“Mr. Speaker, to safeguard efforts being made to enhance financial inclusion and protect the vulnerable, all transactions that add up to GH¢100 or less per day (which is approximately GH¢3000 per month) will be exempt from this levy. 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. 3y3 Baako, Ye nyinaa bey tua. Mr. Speaker, this new policy also comes into effect (once appropriation is passed) from 1st January, 2022. Government will work with all industry partners to ensure that their systems and payment platforms are configured to implement the policy,” Ken Ofori-Atta added.
But the Minority in Parliament have objected to the e-levy.
Ningo-Prampram MP, Sam George, has described it as a ponzi scheme and indicated he will vote against it.
“The more I process the e-Levy, the angrier I get. It is a complete ripoff. It is a taxation ponzi scheme designed to tax the same value of money multiple times.”
He exclaimed; “It is plain government thievery & I cannot vote to approve a budget that has that levy included. No!”
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu also sarcastically praised the Finance Minister for compounding the burdens of Ghanaians.
In his address to move the motion before the House, he said; “Mr. Speaker, ‘Kro mu ayɛ shi’. The system is hot; to wit the system may not be able to bear the hardship. Literally, the system is hot, Mr. Speaker. And Mr. Speaker, it’s only the Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta who ironically eases burdens to quote his words that there is no emotion about the suffering of Ghanaians, yet he is imposing further suffering, imposing a 1.75 MOMO electronic banking tax. So, it’s only Ken Ofori-Atta who eases suffering with the imposition of new taxes targeted at GHC 15 billion within this period.”
AGYENKWA Budget Is Turning Point
Mr. Buaben Asamoa, making submissions on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’ programme, has mounted a strong opposition to the Minority’s position on the budget.
To him, the budget dubbed the ‘AGYENKWA Budget’ is the ‘turning point’ for Ghanaians.
He stated that the government’s introduction of the e-levy will help Ghana to be self-reliant and cut down on its over-dependence on foreign financial aid.
He argued that, with the e-levy, Ghanaians can raise capital to support developmental projects.
The money raised too, according to him, can be used to stabilize the country’s debts so the nation doesn’t borrow from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other foreign organizations again.
Yaw Buaben Asamoa encouraged Ghanaians to accept the e-levy stressing, “if we help ourselves to construct our roads, someone will desire to come to Ghana and establish a business and ply that road. If we strengthen ourselves to build our hospitals, someone will desire to access our hospitals to enhance our health tourism and gain benefits to improve our country . . . If we all unite and accept this e-levy and monitor it well, it will benefit all of us”.
He also called for strong education on the electronic tax to demystify the misconceptions.
“Ghana can do it. Ghana can end its borrowing . . . this budget will make us desist from borrowing. This budget can do something new and unique for us to help ourselves,” he insisted.