E-levy: ‘If you earn ₵1m/yr, all I’ll take from you is ₵15K; is that what you’re fighting?’ – Ofori-Atta questions critics

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Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta haswondered why there is still opposition to the e-levy and hinted at turning to the petroleum sector to raise more revenue should the proposed controversial levy fall through.

Mr Ofori-Atta told journalists at a function in Accra on Friday, 18 February 2022 in case the levy hits a permanent snag: “There are always many alternatives but really, you are looking at the future and you are looking at ways we can solve the issue of the increased revenue and everybody participating”.

“The challenge is, for example: assuming you earn a million cedis a year and you transfer all of that through MoMo; what am I asking of you? GHS15,000”.

“Is that what you have been fighting against?” he asked.

“Or, if you are a student and assuming you earn GHS100,000, which is unlikely; that means what? GHS1,500”.

“So, you then begin to ask the question: what is it that we are fighting against?”

“And, if I have also said the first GHS100 will not be a part of it, which means GHS3,000 monthly income”, he reiterated.

“The alternatives are many”, he said, saying: “You can go into petroleum, but is that really what you want?”

In his view, “the mood of the country is different from the arithmetic in parliament and that is why I have gone around.”

Meanwhile, political pundit Ben Ephson has said the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is being hypocritical with its entrenched position against the passage of the e-levy.

According to Mr Ephson, if the passage of the E-levy will make the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) unpopular, why would the NDC not support it and capitalise on it to win the next election.

Speaking to CTV’s Nana Yaw Adwenpa in an interview, Mr Ephson said: “The NDC is being hypocritical”, adding: “If e-levy is not good and it will make people poorer, if I’m an NDC strategist, I will say: ‘Let them pass it and I will use the harsh effect to campaign against NPP to lose the elections.’ Are you saying you love NPP more than yourselves? It’s a lie. For NDC’s Bagbin to say if NPP passes e-levy, they will lose, then allow them to lose.”

The pollster stressed: “The NDC is being hypocritical, I’ve met NDC people who are enlightened and they suspect there is something in the soup.”

“We’ve got two more years to elections, they know if e-levy is passed, NPP will get money for development otherwise I don’t understand their resistance,” he added.

The government hasdecided to tax allelectronic transactionsin the informal sector to cover the tax net.This was contained in the 2022 budget statement and economic policy that was read in theparliament of Ghana. 1.75% is the rate of the E-levy which the Government has decided to apply on all transactions.

Some Ghanaians are against the levy claiming it does not serve the interest of the common people.

Some economists have also asked for the proposal to be reversed, claiming that it will jeopardise the government’s digitalisation efforts and plans to introduce a digital currency.

The NDC has taken an entrenched position not to support the levy in any way describing it as daylight robbery.

In December 2021, a brawl broke out in parliament due to the disagreement of the E-levy bill.

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