Ghana:Akufo-Addo Assents to controversial E-levy
By Papisdaff Abdullah
President Akufo-Addo has granted Presidential assent to the controversial E-levy bill which was passed into law on Tuesday March 29,2022. The Presidential assent comes despite the suit filed at the Supreme Court by the Minority who have raised concerns over quorum in house at the time of approval.
The Government of Ghana expects the electronic transaction levy to increase tax revenue by GHs 6.9 billion (US$1.1 billion) for the government to help reduce the budget deficit. Government after government has struggled with implementing a comprehensive tax regime due to the large informal economy.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo lauded the passage of the e-levy. He said despite the apparent unpopularity of the levy, it’s the reprieve the country needs to reduce the current economic challenges. Speaking at the 2022 State of the Nation address, Nana Addo said Ghanaians will see improvement in their lives very soon.
“Mr. Speaker, despite the protracted and sometimes acrimonious nature of proceedings, I am happy that the House has, finally, found it possible to pass the E-levy Bill. I believe the levy is going to make a significant contribution to revenue mobilization and the management of the national economy, and I want to thank Members of the House for making this possible.”
The President added that the “road to recovery will be hard and long, Mr. Speaker, but we have started on a good footing by accepting that we are in a difficult place, and are taking the difficult decisions that will get us out. If anyone ever had any doubts about the need to be self-reliant, the point has now been forcibly drilled home to us. The pursuit of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda is even more compelling now.
E-Levy to start in May
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has hinted that the implementation of the Electronic Transaction Levy may commence in May, 2022. According to him, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) will have all the systems in place for the operationalization of the levy by then.
“I think the nation is settled, there is a certain spirit of calmness…. we had a key meeting with the Controller General and the GRA and they have indicated to us that right at the beginning of May, they should be able to get the systems altogether,” he said. “We had some meetings with Controller and Accountant Generals Department (CAGD) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and they have said right at the beginning of May they should be able to put their system together,” the minister added.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of parliament Alban Bagbin today lashed out at the Supreme Court over its recent judgment allowing deputy speakers to vote while presiding. The apex court also affirmed article 104(1) of the constitution which requires a quorum of half of entire MPs before voting.
The Minority through its chief whip Muntaka Mubarak accused the Clerk of parliament Cyril Nsiah of masterminding the marking of seven NDC MPs absent in the votes and proceedings on Tuesday during the passage of the E-Levy. Ablekuma Central Dan Abdul-Latif, New Edubiase MP Adams Abdul Salam, Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare of Techiman North, Amenfi East MP Nicholas Amankwa, Zebilla MP Cletus Avoka, Boateng Joseph Appiah of Afram Plains South, and Sissala West MP Sukparu Adam Mohammed were all marked absent even though they were in the chamber.
Muntaka further faulted the clerk’s office for failing to capture the walkout of his side in the records questioning the motive for development.