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A Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei-Asare has disclosed that ongoing consultations regarding the Electronic Transaction Levy will influence the content of the final tax instrument that will be laid in Parliament before Friday.
The implementation of the 1.75 percent tax on electronic transactions remains contentious.
The stalemate between the Majority and Minority caucuses in Parliament is yet to be settled as MPs prepare to pass budget estimates and the appropriation bill before the house goes on recess on December 21.
The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, last week indicated that despite the stalemate and seeming breakdown of dialogue among stakeholders on the e-levy, government will continue with such engagements.
Speaking to journalists after appearing before the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament, Abena Osei-Asare indicated that they’ve made some progress with the discussions and consultations on the e-levy.
“I believe that we will bring the bill in and hopefully, all things being equal, it will be laid in Parliament, and all of us will see everything stated clearly in the electronic transaction levy.”
“You can never finish consultations, so I cannot say consultations are over, but we have made very good progress in the consultation process and I believe that it will reflect in the bill that we will be presented to Parliament.”
The imposition of the e-levy has been one of the contentious issues in the 2022 budget statement.
Many Ghanaians have called on the government to reconsider such a tax. They argue the levy is punitive.
The Minority Caucus in Parliament had indicated its strong resolve to reject the e-levy in its entirety.
It said it will kick against the levy in any shape or form since it will inflict more hardship on Ghanaians.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, while making a submission on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday [December 6, 2021] in reaction to Ken Ofori-Atta’s recent announcement of concessions on the 2022 budget, said the levy will, among other things, derail Ghana’s efforts to grow a digital economy.
“It is true that we engaged. We were part of the engagement, but at that engagement, regrettably and unfortunately, on the matter of e-levy, we could not have agreement and consensus.”
Otumfuo wades into controversy
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, has said the payment of taxes by citizens of every country is one sure way by which countries are developed.
He explained that even though no one loves paying taxes, there is no other way governments can raise revenue to meet the demands of the citizenry.
“We have been fortunate in our political journey to have moved on from a period of one political party dominating everything. Today, at least the two main political parties have all been in government. If we are honest, we will agree that there is no perfect government and there will never be as long as we have different points of view.”
“And if we are honest, we will also agree that there are no people in this world that love paying taxes, and yet there is no other way conceived by the human mind by which government can raise the resources to meet our needs other than by raising taxes. I do not know of any form of taxes that is less painful than others. So at last, the government, by all means, would have to raise taxes to meet our needs and if we are good citizens, we will pay our taxes.”