Our whole future not on E-Levy—Finance Minister

The Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, says Government’s plan is not to use proceeds from the proposed Electronic Transactions Levy (E-Levy) to solve all the economic challenges facing the economy.

He said the government would use monies generated from the E-Levy to complement other sources of revenue to manage its debt situation, improve infrastructure, and mitigate rising unemployment in the country.

Speaking at the third in a series of the government Town Hall meeting on the levy in the Northern Region on Thursday, he said: “It is not that we’re hanging our whole future on E-Levy, but we know that E-Levy is even going to grow more.”

Mr Ofori-Atta indicated that the government would also leverage on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to bring in more trade and investments.

The Minister said: “We’re in a period that investment and trade is really the new battle of emancipation, and we’re going to use that as a leverage to be able to bring investment in a regional place to move forward.”

Explaining the need to have the levy implemented, he said, there was the need to strengthen governance, “so that we don’t waste money. But when you see a new way of making money for the State, which means that the old ones would diminish, then that’s where we have to go for.”

Touching on figures, he noted that in 2016, the country had GH?78 billion of transfers on Mobile Money (MoMo), but that had increased to almost a trillion (GH?953 billion) in recent times.

He explained that the economy was changing and people were taking advantage of that, and quizzed: “shouldn’t the State benefit?”

He reiterated that the government would not resort to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout programme, insisting that handlers of the economy could manage resources for economic revitalisation and transformation.

Mr Ofori-Atta said: “Whatever we do, we’re not [going to the IMF]. The consequences are dire. We’re a proud nation; we have the resources, and the capacity to do it if only we speak that one language and ensure that we burden share in the issues ahead.”

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), said his Party would abolish the Levy when in power.

During a street protest organised by the Youth Wing of the NDC in Accra, also on Thursday, he said: “It is not taxation. It is daylight robbery. Taking people’s capital from their pockets. We will abolish it within the first 100 days (about 3 and a half months) we assume power.”

He added: “We [the NDC] are not against taxation. Taxation is for value addition. But we will not sit and watch the government robbing us. The alternatives are there.”

Some Ghanaians, who followed the meeting on Facebook, expressed their views on the levy.

The government announced the introduction of a 1.75 percent E-levy in the 2022 budget on MoMo payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances.

This announcement generated controversy, making the Finance Minister announce a reduction of the proposed 1.75 percent to 1.5 percent.

It is expected that the country would generate about seven billion in 2022 from the E-Levy upon its implementation.

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