Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has urged Ghanaians to ‘convince’ their MPs to pass the Electronic Transaction Tax (E-Levy) Bill and hold it accountable for all income and expenditure .
The minister reiterated that the time has come for citizens to “share the burden” of the country’s development with the government by paying this tax.
He said the e-tax would help boost revenue as the country moves towards an e-commerce economy and invests in debt sustainability, infrastructure development and youth entrepreneurship.
Mr Ofori-Atta said this during the closing ceremony of the University of Ghana’s 73rd Annual New Year School and Conference in Accra on Wednesday.
“What I expected was for Parliament to say we’re going to get $6.9 billion from this new tax revenue measure. So how do you do [Finance Minister] give me a report [Parliament] on a quarterly basis on the uses of the fund and its application so that we move on,” he said.
Mr Ofori-Atta’s call for citizens to ask their MPs to adopt the e-tax comes as the government has started public meetings to explain and get feedback on the bill.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, has asked the Parliament’s Finance Committee to also engage in consultations beyond what the government was doing, following a petition to Parliament by the Mobile Money Agents Association on the same issue.
Citing some people’s concerns that the 1.75% was high, Mr. Ofori-Atta explained that the government had committed telecom operators to accept an absorption of 0.25% to protect Ghanaians.
“…You bring up the issue of the 1.75% electronic tax, and people will say that’s too high, even though we have exempted transfers under 100 cedis.
“The arguments were coming ‘fast and furious’, and we had to listen and reassess that in terms of the impact of the 1.75%. We were able to drop 0.25% [by the telcos]which means the impact will diminish for the average Ghanaian,” he said.
He added, “We will still be able to retain the revenue needed for these three critical areas of debt sustainability, building infrastructure and ensuring that our YouStart program becomes a standard in our socio-economic development.” .
At the end of the annual New Year School, the government was recommended to introduce innovative ways to mobilize domestic revenue and reduce “unnecessary spending and waste in the public sector”.