Ghana: Unlawful e-levy bad for digital economic industry – Mahama’s Finance Minister jabs Akufo Addo

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Seth Terkper

A former Minister of Finance under the erstwhile Mahama administration, has said that implementation of the controversial Electronic Transfer Levy (E-levy) is bad for Ghana’s vibrant digital economic industry.

Seth Terkper argues that, “Ghana has a well-structured tax so if you work and earn income you are taxed. Either as an employee, as a business you pay corporate income tax or profit tax. If you make capital gain, there is capital gain tax which is structured”.

According to him, the Nana Addo led government’s justification for introducing the levy is not grounded in law. Mr Terkper is therefore asking the government to tell Ghanaians the context in the global tax law within which they are applying the controversial E-levy.

“The digital economy is being taxed globally, but are we using existing tax instrument to tax them which is another way of broadening the tax base or we are importing a levy with a defect?” the former Finance Minister quizzed.  “If you say E-levy is taxing an industry, are we targeting an industry and therefore it is fair to tax the industry with E-levy, an infant industry,” he enquired.

Nana Addo on BBC

President Akufo-Addo in a recent interview with the BBC has defended passage of the controversial Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy) arguing that that it will help Ghana’s economic recovery journey. “In Ghana, the recovery programme we have is very credible and that is what is going to give us the opportunity to come out of this period a stronger economy, and it is that future we are looking at. The digital economy is emerging as the biggest economy in the country and for a long period, it has not had any tax at all, so it is important that it also comes into the net,” he told Peter Okwoche.

He continued “the world is going through very difficult times. Ghana is no exception, Nigeria is no exception. There is no country in the world that has escaped the ravages of COVID-19. What you need to look at is the elements being put on the ground that looks beyond the Russia Ukraine war.”

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