Ghana Politics

Minority’ll kill ‘monster’, ‘killer’ e-levy ‘before it kills us’ – Adongo

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Bolgatanga Central MP Isaac Adongo

Bolgatanga Central MP Isaac Adongo has said the minority caucus in parliament will stop the government’s proposed 1.75 per cent e-levy because it is a monster that will kill Ghanaians.

The e-levy will affect all mobile money and other electronic transactions.

Debating the 2022 budget on the floor of parliament on Tuesday, 23 November 2021, the opposition MP said: “E-Levy, Mr Speaker; no matter how you call that thing, it’s a monster. It doesn’t matter the language that you use, it’s a killer Mr Speaker that will change the face of our families and our children and the entire business community if we allow this to pass”.

“This is anti-poor, this is anti-business, it is the most regressive [of levies]”, he declared, adding: “Mr Speaker, our role here is not to kill the hen that lays the golden egg and that hen is the businessman we are taxing to death.”

“Mr Speaker, I want to assure my colleagues on the other side that we’re very nationalistic and we seek to protect and develop our country”, said Mr Adongo, noting: “But we’ll not do so at the expense of the comfort and the wellbeing of our citizens”.

“And that when you come here with budget proposals that seek to break the back of Ghanaians, we must stop you”, he pointed out.

“When you arrive with an intention to impose a tax that will kill our people, we must kill the tax before it kills us”, he stressed.

Citing the recent proposal by the budget to scrap the 50 per cent benchmark value on some selected items, Mr Adongo argued that the Akufo-Addo government has been very harsh on the business community since coming into office.

“Mr Speaker, we cannot trust this government”, he said, explaining: “When this government came and said that they were moving from taxation to production and said that they had abolished special import duty, Abossey Okai people rose and jubilated not knowing they were waiting for them at the port to show them the difference”.

“And when they arrived at the ports Mr Speaker, people must understand what’s benchmark values. Benchmark values are the exceptions and not the rule. What you do is that when a commissioner is suspicious that a particular invoice has been under-invoiced, then he has the mandate to use his own valuation to determine the appropriate rate. After you removed that import duty of 1%, you went to the port and you gave all the items a new valuation; so, now they go and pay and they realise that they’re paying 3 to 4% more than when you had the 1% there. Mr Speaker, when you remove taxes, we suffer at the ports.”

 “Mr Speaker, when these people came and said Adwumapa budget; we ended up with escalated unemployment. Mr Speaker, when these people came and said the year of roads, we ended up being insulted that educated people shouldn’t go on demonstrations. Our roads were not fixed”, Mr Adongo noted.

Additionally, he said: “Mr Speaker, today they are saying that they want to do YouStart with GHS1 billion. Mr Speaker, if you use GHS1 billion to create jobs of one million, that’s GHS1,000 per head. So, it’s because of GHS1,000 [that] our kids are unemployed.”

The government is seeking to spend an amount GH¢137.5 billion for the 2022 fiscal year.

The amount, which is 27.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), represents an increase of 23.2 per cent over the 2021 projected outturn of GH¢111.6 billion.

Out of the amount, compensation for employees is projected at GH¢35.84 billion, goods and services are also projected at GH¢9.14 billion, with interest payments projected at GH¢37.44 billion.

Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) is projected at GH¢16.39 billion, with other expenditures, mainly comprising Energy Sector Levies (ESL) transfers, payments to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and financial sector costs (GAT capitalisation) also estimated at GH¢9.96 billion.

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