A Vice President of the policy think tank, IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, has said that the Akufo-Addo government’s arguments in defense of the Electronic Transaction Tax (e-levy) is an admission that they have mismanaged the economy.
Bentil’s observation comes amidst the insistence of Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta not to scrap the 1.7% obnoxious e-levy tax despite widespread public condemnation.
In a classic opportunistic pattern, the government hopes to raise at least GHC 4.5 billion from the e-levy but will be dubiously pumping a staggering GHC 241 million to a shady service provider allegedly linked to the Finance Minister’s private company, Databank Financial Services.
This is even though there already exists the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the fraudulently contracted KelniGvG which monitors revenues to telecom companies.
“The government communication in support of e-levy seems to suggest that the economy has been mismanaged, and without e-levy, we will crash into IMF! Not so? Please clarify,” Kofi Bentil wrote.
The e-levy, which purposes to pile on more tax on already overburdened Ghanaians has been a tough sell for the government with the Minority in Parliament leading the national resistance.
However, in defense of the tax, the government which says it aims to raise some GHc4.5billion from it says that it is a crucial tax that must be accepted if the country’s finances can be sanitised.
And pushing this argument, the government has explained that its attempts at raising money on the international money market is experiencing difficulty.
Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markins, has even argued the Minority in Parliament has no business resisting the tax because it is championing a Bill in Parliament to criminalize homosexuality and lesbianism and this has led to many funding avenues being closed in the face of the Ghana government.
According to Mr. Kofi Bentil, this shows the government is admitting that it has failed to manage the economy well. Already, Ghana’s debt to GDP ratio is some 82% while the cedi has been depreciating against major trading currencies.
He also questions why the government has budgeted a whopping GHC241 million just for monitoring the inflow of revenue from the e-levy.
, “there is no good reason to use 241m to monitor e-levy you might as well use that to support the budget and scrap the E-levy. I insist that e-levy doesn’t need any special monitoring!! If needed, then GRA can do it. It’s already in a very well structured and formalized system,” he stated in the post.
Kofi Bentil confirmed suspicions that the Ghc241million allocation may be for cronyism purposes.