Convince Ghanaians that taxes will be used properly – Gov’t told

Ghanaians do not really trust the government to use the taxes they collect judiciously hence the opposition to the e-levy introduction, the Chief Executive Officer of the African Energy Consortium Limited, Kwame Jantuah,  has said.

In his view, most Ghanaians don’t have confidence in the government’s ability to use the tax properly.

Speaking on the Key Points on TV3/3FM with host Dzifa Bampoh on Saturday December 11, Mr Jantuah who is also a private legal prcatitioner told the government to “Convince Ghanaians that the moneys will be used judiciously. Explain to to Ghanaians how monies have been uses.”

He further indicated that the government should have done a wider consultation on the proposed E-levy before its introduction in the 2022 budget statement.

In his view, the Finance Ministry should have sought ideas from civil society groups and all other stakeholders on the policy to make acceptable by all.

He said “Whether they put e-levy on it or they don’t, government wins.

“So, they put a levy on MoMo, Ghanaians decide we are not going to do MoMo. Two things, they might either keep their money under their bed or they will revert to the banks. If they revert to the banks, who borrows from the banks? Who do the banks want or likely to loan money to?

“Is it the private sector or government? It is government. So, if people put their money back to the banks, government goes to the banks, loan moneys from the banks because the banks know that it is guaranteed that government will pay, and what does that do to the private sector as the engine of growth? It collapses because these same banks don’t give private sector the money. so either way government wins.

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“But I feel that if it so happened that initially before they start to think about e-levy they had consultations with civil society , stakeholders and all maybe it would have been more acceptable than it is now.”

Bongo Member of Parliament, Edward Bawa who was also on the same programme revealed that negotiations on the introduction of the e-levy have collapsed.

“Negotiations have collapsed,” he said.

He further questioned the Akufo-Addo administration’s decision of introducing more taxes when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) condemned the Mahama administration for making similar decisions.

Referring to an article published by the pro-NPP Statesman newspaper which criticised Mr Mahama’s introduction of taxes, Mr Bawa said Ghanaians thought the Akufo-Addo administration was not going to levy the people.

But reacting to his comment, Dr Kabiru Mahama, Economic Policy Analyst at the Office of the Vice President disagreed with the comments that negotiations have collapsed.

“From the government’s view, negotiations haven’t collapsed,” he said on the same show.

He further stated that the position of the Minority on the e-levy is not the position of government.

“It is quite unfortunate to state that consultations have collapsed,” he said.

The Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta had said at a press conference earlier that consultation were ongoing on the proposal.

He said “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.

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“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.”

Meanwhile the e-levy was absent from the business statement for next week after Deputy Majority Speaker did not mention it in the House on Friday December 10.

By Laud Nartey||Ghana