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We Are Ready For You; Minority Tells Finance Minister After E-levy Ambush

The minority in Parliament has reiterated its preparedness for the controversial Electronic Transfers Levy (E-levy) after the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta ambushed them with the second reading of the bill for its passage if possible.

“We are ready for you. Prepare for a debate on e-levy. Watch your back”, he told the Minister.

This was after the Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu bemoaned the majority’s habit of ambushing them with major economic policy bills and upheld that it will not accept that as a culture.

According to him, the second reading of the budget was not captured in today’s Parliamentary business.

“When you presented a business statement, it was not part of the business which was approved for the House. We have time and again, warned and cautioned that we never want to be taken by surprise on a major economic policy bill of government.

“It cannot be and we will not accept that culture. When you (Finance Minister) did not have the numbers, you (Finance Minister) were hesitant, you (Finance Minister) wouldn’t come before the house. Now that you have got reasonable numbers”, you are here.

The Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin, speaking on the issues raised by the minority, urged the leadership of the House to use the acceptable channel to communicate.

“I want to urge leadership to continue to use the usual channels of communication to make sure that on such issues, we are able to build consensus and then we can pass on to members so that we can manage the House well.”

Addressing the legislators, Ken Ofori Atta said the levy, if passed, will broaden the tax space of the country and impose a levy on electronic transfers to enhance the government’s efforts for revenue mobilisation.

“Mr Speaker the levy which is expected to raise approximately 6,963,000,000 in 2022 is a key mechanism that the government of Ghana will use to ensure more Ghanaians in the public contribute their fair share towards the development of the country.”

The levy, he said, will help in tackling Youth unemployment, inadequate and poor fiscal and digital infrastructures like roads, rising public debt, diminishing entrepreneurship culture as well as maintaining and sustaining the flagship programmes.

“Recent economic data suggests that the overall tax to Gross Domestic Product for Sub Saharan Africa in 2018 was 16.5% while the tax to Gross Domestic Product of Ghana in 2021 is estimated to be 13.4%, which is one of the lowest among Ghana’s peer middle income countries. Records further indicate that as of August 2021, out of about 18 million potential taxpayers, only 2,400,000 persons that approximately 8% of the total population were registered as personal income taxpayers”, he said.

Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini

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