The Minority in Parliament says the government’s announcement that it will engage the public on the need for the introduction of the e-levy is a reactionary move to impress investors.
Despite opposition to the passage of the levy, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, at a press conference on Wednesday announced the government’s intention to sensitize the public on the levy.
But a member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Isaac Adongo, says the timing of the engagement with the public clearly shows the government is not serious.
“Parliament is resuming next week, and he [Finance Minister] is now contemplating engaging Ghanaians. Clearly, you can see they are not serious.”
“They are basically playing around with the emotions and monies of investors who are losing them. They are being warned, and it has all been a reaction to the downgrade of the country,” Mr. Adongo said.
He believes the surest way to revive the economy is not through the e-levy, but by cutting down on expenditure.
“The comment by Ghanaians is that, we are spending much more than we can raise. Cut back on the frivolous profligate expenditures so that you are able to live within your means,” Mr. Adongo said.
The government says following the conclusion of extensive consultations on the controversial levy, it will re-submit the Bill to Parliament.
During the 2022 budget statement, the government announced the proposed levy of 1.75% on electronic transactions, which includes mobile-money payments.
Critics of the proposal have warned that this new levy will negatively impact the Fintech space, as well as hurt low-income people and those outside the formal banking sector.
The government has, however, argued the levy would widen the tax net and that it could raise an extra GH¢6.9 billion in 2022.
Parliament was unable to approve the Electronic Transaction Levy before the end of sittings in 2021, after a contentious approval process that even resulted in a brawl in Parliament following an attempt to consider it under a certificate of urgency.