E-levy: Remittances, bank transfer, merchant payment taken out – Gov’t

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Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has revealed that some changes have been made to the e-levy proposal following consultations that were held.

This, according to him, is evident that there had been engagement and listening of the concerns raised.

Speaking on the mid day news on TV3 Tuesday December 21, the Ofoase Ayirebi lawmaker said “The first thing we need to do is that, we need to deal with the growing conduct of some Members of Parliament that whenever they do not agree with something, whether it is the Speaker’s rule or a position of the executive or a position of Member of parliament, they resort to violence and physical attacks in the chamber.

“That is the reason for which we have had to adjourn today because today, Mr Speaker is still not in the House, we are not able to proceed with business without rancor because what it would mean is that the First Deputy Speaker or the Second Deputy Speaker would have to take the Chair. Under the circumstances, if a matter comes up to a vote and he chooses to exercise his casting votes which he is entitled to, our colleagues on the other side will resort to violence .

“Everybody now sees it clearly, so what next is that the Republic of Ghana needs to address this situation where some Members of Parliament resort to violence as a way of expressing their displeasure. It is totally unacceptable, totally uncalled for. The Marshals department under the leadership of the Speaker has to have a handle of this because it doesn’t matter that today, it is e-levy, tomorrow it could be anything and when some particular Member of Parliament is not happy with it then there will be a resort to violence and fisticuffs, that is what next to be dealt with.”

Regarding the levy, he revealed that some changes have been made to the proposal following consultations.

“If you read paragraph 361 of the budget statements the executive initially proposed inward remittances, bank transfers, merchant payments, Mobile Money to be charged at 1.75 per cent in addition to the 2 per cent that already the telcos are charging. After all the consultations and memos and engagements, remittances had been taken out, bank transfer of business had been taken out , merchant payment had been taken out, .025 of the mobile money operators charges had been taken out. So now, it is no longer going to be a cumulative, about 3.75, it has now come to 3.5.

“That is evident that there has been engagement, there has been a listening. If all of that has taken place at the committee and you still think you are opposed to it and the vote has taken place and you have lost that vote, you don’t come onto the floor and resort to physical violence to prevent the business of the Houses from going on and I think we must be clear on that. Let us not mixed that with consult more, violence has never been a legitimate tool,” he said.

The Minority in Parliament had accused the government of not listening to the concerns raised against the proposal.

Speaking to the media after the Finance Committee’s sitting on Monday December 20, Mr Casiel Ato Forson who is also Member of Parliament for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam would reject the proposal.

“You can see clearly a government that is not ready to listen, a government that is determined to push the agenda regardless of its impact to the people of Ghana

“This morning the Finance Committee held a meeting and we have just come out from the meeting At the meeting we needed to first determine whether we can consider the electronic transfer levy bill before us on a certificate of urgency or not.

“At that point, we in the Minority argued that it cannot be considered under certificate of urgency for a simple reason that we have received petition from the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications.

“In fact the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications s on the 1st of December 2021 wrote a letter to the Rt Honourable Speaker , the Parliament of Ghana Accra. and to the attention of the Honbourable Joseph Osei Wusu for us to first invite them and listen to them.

“And they they believe that they have an alternative way of generating revenue as against what the government seeks to do and they have actually tabulated the negative impact of this levy to government We argue that it is important that government or Parliament , at the minimum, meet with them and listen to them. The NPP Majority in Parliament had said that they do not believe that.”

Parliament has on Tuesday adjourned sitting to January 18, 2022.

The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said the adjournment of the sitting on the e-levy would afford the Majority and government more time to do further consultations on the proposal.

First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu announced on Tuesday December 21 that Parliament has adjourned sitting sine die.

Addressing the press after the adjournment, Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said “I think that this will also allow us sometime to have further consultations among ourselves, it is the reason why the First Deputy Speaker had to adjourn the House sine die. As you know, the budget has been passed , there was an attempt to portray that that there is no budget, there is a budget , the appropriations bill passed.”

He added “I think that this will also allow us sometime to have further consultations among ourselves ,it is the reason why the First Deputy Speaker had to adjourn the House sine die . As you know, the budget has been passed , there was an attempt to portray that that there is no budget, there is a budget , the appropriations bill passed.”

On Monday December 20 Members of Ghana’s Parliament could not hold their emotions as some exchanged brawls in the House just before the final vote on the controversial Electronic Transfer Levy Bill, also known as e-levy.

The sit-in Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, had announced that a division would be followed to approve the Bill, presented under a certificate of urgency, and he was going to vote as well in his capacity as a Member of Parliament.

That appeared to have provoked the National Democratic Congress (NDC) members, who questioned his decision to vote after presiding over the night’s proceedings.

They moved to the front of the dais, issuing threats at the Bekwai MP.

This got the Majority MPs to also start agitations and immediately Mr Osei-Owusu handed the presiding role to the Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, the fight broke out.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana