Economist Prof. John Gatsi has said the Minority in Parliament and other interested groups must work harder if they want the withdrawal of the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-ley) from the 2022 budget.
Speaking to Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Tuesday, Prof. Gatsi commenting on the amendment to the 2022 budget by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said the moves by the Minister appears ‘deceptive’.
“If you are not meeting and at the same time you are giving indications, if by next week or so the budget is not approved the way it’s supposed to be then Ghanaians should be ready for some consequences.
“That tells you that the E-levy until both the Minority and the government side and other stakeholders who are interested in a change don’t work a little bit harder that would not change, so it’s just a trap, that I believe is going on. The major thing would just be a panic message to the people of Ghana so that at the end of the day we will forget about the E-levy thing. I don’t think there is a serious commitment to doing any revision,” he added.
The Dean of the Cape Coast Business School reiterated that the government must demonstrate to Ghanaians its commitment to cut down on expenditure.
“The government should demonstrate that it is possible to cut down expenditure. You cannot be talking about burden sharing where the Chief Executive of this country is living a travel lifestyle that the people say they don’t like and that continues. You cannot be talking about burden sharing when the government appointees have not changed anything in terms of their expenditure spree. When that happens, which burden are you sharing,” he quizzed.
However, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta says government will take measures to block attempts by individuals to evade the E-levy proposed in the 2022 budget.
According to him, E-levy is currently the best option to draw in more people into the tax bracket.
“On the matter of the E-levy, having regard to its serious fiscal implications, we will continue our consultations with the Minority Caucus in Parliament and other relevant stakeholders, with a view to achieving consensus and reverting to the House in the shortest possible time.
“We are determined to enhance domestic revenue mobilisation, the presence of our proposal on the E-Levy is to widen the tax net and generate the required revenue to support entrepreneurship, youth employment to build our infrastructure especially roads and reduce our debts,” he said.
“Let me emphasise that the E-levy represents our greatest opportunity to in the medium-term widen the tax base and meet the tax to GDP ratio of 20% as pertains among our peers.
“To lessen the impact of the E-Levy on consumers and subscribers, especially the vulnerable we shall work with all stakeholders to ensure that we respond to the need of the people,” he noted at a press conference in Accra Monday.
He stressed: “We shall also ensure administrative measures are taken to avoid attempts at evading the E-Levy, The propose E-levy is largely progressive”.
Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament says its position on the controversial E-Levy in the 2022 budget has not changed.
It comes on the back of reports that the Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu says the minority caucus is willing to accommodate an adjustment of the levy from 1.75% to 1% of all electronic cash transactions.
A statement signed by the Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the position of the NDC Caucus in Parliament right from the outset of the 2022 Budget debate has been that the 1.75% E-Levy government is seeking to impose is regressive, punitive and draconian, and that same must be suspended.