The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, has asked the citizenry to accept the Electronic Transaction Levy.
He says, the tax policy is not meant to make Ghanaians impoverished, adding that the poor in the country will be shielded from paying the E-levy with the GH¢100 a day threshold.
Taking his turn in the second leg of the government’s Town Hall meeting in the Takoradi in the Western Region, the Minister courted support for the move, saying, “we cannot shirk our responsibilities as middle-income Ghanaians and turn around to blame the government.”
The government’s plan to raise revenue through the Electronic Transaction Levy has been widely criticised by opposition parties, some financial analysts, and even some members of the NPP, who have argued that the expected revenue from the controversial tax will not be enough.
But the Minister insists, the E-levy, if passed will be in the interest of the country and that the vulnerable should not be perturbed since it will not over-burden them financially.
“Some people have said, the government has collected enough from Ghanaians and is still bent on imposing the E-levy. That is even a non-issue because our population increases annually, so we’ll need more money year after year for our economic development. The other problem is that many people are claiming there will be tougher times ahead.”
“But what I know is that the tax policy has been designed not to burden the poor. My analysis is that the poor in Ghana are those who receive only GH¢70 throughout the whole year, but the E-levy has exempted GH¢100 daily transactions from the tax. The levy must be supported for socio-economic development.”
The government has also defended the levy as being necessary to widen the tax net.
The government expects the levy to provide an extra GH¢ 6.9 billion to execute developmental projects in 2022.
According to the budget, up to 0.25 percentage points of the 1.75 percent e-transaction levy, or 16.7 percent of the yield from the levy, should be used to support road infrastructure development.
Ten percent of the 0.25 percentage points, i.e. 1.67% of the yield from the levy, would be dedicated to improvements in public transportation, including the purchase of buses.