Have the humility to embrace inputs into 2022 budget – Otumfuo to gov’t

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta

The Asantehene, Otumfou Osei Tutu II, has asked the government to accept inputs made by other stakeholders, in the 2022 budget statement.

Although he advised the house not to frustrate government in its role of implementing policies, the administration must also welcome other suggestions.

He made the statement at Manhyia Palace on Sunday December 12.

“It is to our good that our representatives in Parliament subject national budget to the most vigorous scrutiny and to call for changes. Government must always also have the humility to acknowledge and embrace useful inputs from all sources.

“But our representatives need to also bear in mind that  it is not the role to  either determine  policy for the executive  or to frustrate them from  performing their legitimate duty,” he said.

Aspects of the 2022 budget especially the introduction of the e-levy have met stiff opposition from the Minority in Parliament and some Ghanaians.

The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu has insisted that his side in the House will not support the policy proposal.

Contributing to a debate on the floor of the House Tuesday December 7, he said “We are unable to support government and we will continue to oppose it.”

His comments came just a day after the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta had indicated at a press conference that consultations were still going on regarding the proposal in order to reach a consensus.

“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,” he said on Monday December 6.

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The Finance Minister had announced in the budget statement a new levy to be charged by government in 2022 on all electronic transactions to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector.

“It is becoming clear there exists enormous potential to increase tax revenues by bringing into the tax bracket, transactions that could be best defined as being undertaken in the ‘informal economy’,” Mr Ofori-Atta observed on Wednesday, November 17 as he presented the 2022 budget statement in Parliament.

“After considerable deliberations, government has decided to place a levy on all electronic transactions to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector. This shall be known as the ‘Electronic Transaction Levy or E-Levy’.”

He explained that the new E-levy will be a 1.75 per cent charge on all electronic transactions covering mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments and inward remittances to be borne by the sender except inward remittances, which will be borne by the recipient.

This will, however, not affect transactions that add up to GH¢100 pr less per day.

“A portion of the proceeds from the E-Levy will be used to support entrepreneurship, youth employment, cyber security, digital and road infrastructure among others.”

This new levy is scheduled to start Saturday, January 1, 2022.

In 2020, total value of transactions was estimated to be over GH¢500 million with mobile money subscribers and users growing by 16 percent in 2019.

According to a Bank of Ghana report, Ghana saw an increase of over 120 percent in the value of digital transactions between February 2020 and February 2021 compared to 44 percent for the period February 2019 to February 2020 due to the convenience they offer.

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This was definitely heightened by the advent of Covid-19 especially during the lockdown.

But the proposal has met resistance from the Minority in Parliament.

Haruna Iddrisu said the E-levy is a disincentive to the growth of digital economy. To that end, he said, the Minority will not support it.

Speaking at a post budget workshop in Ho on Saturday November 20, he said “Mr Speaker, understandably, we see that the Minister of Finance seeks to introduce some measures including the now popularly declared e-levy or digital levy  as some have quite named it.

“Mr Speaker, our concern is whether the e-levy itself is not and will not be a disincentive to the growth of digital economy in our country . We are convinced that the e-levy may as well even be a disincentive to investment  and a disincentive to private sector development in our country. We in the minority may not and will not support government  with the introduction of that particular e-levy . We are unable to build national consensus  on that particular matter.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana