The Minority in Parliament has assured Ghanaians they will continue to oppose the e-levy Bill until it is withdrawn by the government.
Speaking on behalf of the Minority, the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee, Ato Forson, said introducing the e-levy is insensitive to the plight of Ghanaians. It will also affect the use of the mobile money facility to transact business and derail plans to push a cash-lite economy.
Dr. Forson made the comment at a press conference on Monday. According to him, “this is the first time I am seeing a tax of its kind. I want to say that we in the Minority will take the fight to the plenary. We will fight for the ordinary Ghanaian and will ensure that the e-levy dies.”
He added that, “a tax policy that seeks to tax a medium of exchange is a policy that should not be entertained. This is a tax on pensions, capital and a tax that cannot be allowed to stand.”
This comes after the Finance Committee of Parliament agreed to present the E-Levy Bill before the House for further deliberations under a certificate of urgency.
Earlier, the Bill was approved by a majority decision at the Committee level.
The 12 NDC members on the Committee had voted against the Bill while the 12 NPP members, excluding the Chairman of the Committee, had voted in favour.
The tie was broken by the Chairman of the Committee who in the exercise of his casting vote, voted in favour of the Bill.
However, Dr. Forson noted that all 137 NDC Members of Parliament will stand beside the ordinary Ghanaian to oppose the Bill once it is laid before the House.
“Because we in the Minority believe that our power is with the people, and we’re here representing the people and for any reason anytime you’re going through legislation, there is the need for you to invite public memoranda and most important, a particular Bill of this nature, that everyone is complaining about, there’s the need for us to listen to people,” he added.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, presenting the 2022 Budget on Wednesday, November 17, announced that the government intends to introduce an electronic transaction levy (e-levy).
The levy, he revealed is being introduced to “widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector”. This followed a previous announcement that the government intends to halt the collection of road tolls.
The proposed levy, which will come into effect in 2022, is a charge of 1.75% on the value of electronic transactions. It covers mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances. There is an exemption for transactions up to GH¢100 per day.
Explaining the government’s decision, the Finance Minister revealed that the total digital transactions for 2020 were estimated to be over GH¢500 billion (about $81 billion) compared to GH¢78 billion ($12.5 billion) in 2016. Thus, the need to widen the tax net to include the informal sector.