Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has stated that, the implementation of the E-levy policy, will go a long way to enable government discharge its duty of raising funds to support district assemblies across the country.
Speaking at a town hall meeting at Wa in the Upper West Region, he re-echoed the need for all Ghanaians to rally behind the implementation of the new tax policy, which will help mobilise more revenue for the country.
According to him, once the levy becomes effective, government will have the ability to roll out more developmental initiatives across the country.
“E-levy as small as you might think, it will be GH¢7 billion, starting this year if we had started early. So we could pay your District Assembly Common Fund but your opposition is sitting on it,” he said.
“If I look at Upper West where we have 11 constituencies, we have 340,000 people being youth with serious issues of unemployment with eight of our MPs coming from the NDC. What reason will they have to support an e-levy which is looking at about GH¢10 billion intervention called YouStart, which is also looking at getting to the heart of employment”, he added.
The statement by the Finance Minister, adds to a series of arguments, which have been advanced by government in a bid to facilitate the passage of the controversial E-levy Bill.
The Bill, which is currently before Parliament, seeks to impose a 1.75% tax on all electronic transactions across the country.
Despite government’s efforts to pass the Bill, the Minority in Parliament has maintained a stiff stance against its passage.
According to them, once the Bill is passed, many Ghanaian business will be severely affected. The Minority has also argued that the Bill will deepen the levels of hardship in the country, hence their resistance.
Government communicators have however accused the Minority of deliberately antagonising the Bill for political expediency.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Anyaa Sowutuom, Dr Dickson Adomako Kissi, has indicated that the Finance Ministry is considering the reduction of the current rate of the Electronic Transaction Levy (e-levy) further downwards.
Speaking on JoyNews’ AM Show, he noted that the current stance of the Ministry stems from the outcome of the various town hall meetings held by government.
“What I can say here is that I’m so happy through these town hall meetings, the Finance Minister is adjusting, which shows that he is listening and also that he is moving gradually from where he stood firmly. That is remarkable for me. I’m happy that it has come to 1.5% and it is going further down. I have had interactions with the Finance Ministry,” he said.
H e also added, “Finance Minister was at 1.75% with the telcos taking 0.25%. Now, he is actually looking at moving to 1.5% and still the telcos absorbing the 0.25% which then brings it to 1.25%. These are concessions the Finance Ministry is making”.