The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu has dismissed claims that the manifesto document of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 2020 elections captures E-levy.
He dared persons making such a claim to produce the said page in the document that captures E-levy of 1.75 per cent.
The NDC promised ahead of the 2020 elections that it will “work with merchants to encourage their clients to pay for goods and services electronically.”
They promised to “promote digital finance to drive financial inclusion, and financial development,” as well as “work with the various stakeholders in the financial and technology sectors to collaborate and design a resilient financial system through partnerships.”
The NDC also promised to “migrate and enforce all Person-to-Government (P2G) payments into the electronic payment ecosystem, and this will start with migrating all major revenue-generating ventures of Government into e-Payment platforms such as was envisaged under the e-Ghana Project and will be applicable in all sectors – financial and non-financial,” and also “allow each institution to develop its own portal system where Government services by that institution will be conducted and payment made online. For a start, notable Government institutions such as the Passport Office, DVLA, Metropolitan Assemblies, Police Departments, Birth and Death Registry will be migrated.”
They said they will “enact a strict policy on cash-based bank transactions in order to regularise the volume of cash transactions that can be made at banks’ branches and via the ATMs,” and “ensure a strong protection regime by building strong safety measures for victims of fraud in the IT ecosystem.”
But addressing the press in Parliament on Wednesday February 23, Haruna Iddrisu said “They have also made strenuous and ferocious efforts to say that E-levy is mentioned in NDC’s manifesto. I say authoritatively, Electronic Transaction Levy of 1.75 per cent only got introduced in Ghana the first time by Ken Ofori-Atta, nothing more. If you have any page of the NDC’s manifesto where you see electronic transactions or electronic transfer levy of 1.75 per cent, share it.”
Haruna Iddrisu further launched a scathing attack on Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta over comments suggesting that the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) can only be paid if the e-levy is passed.
Mr Ofori-Atta had reiterated the need for Ghanaians to support moves by the Akufo-Addo-led government to impose a tax on electronic transactions.
Initially proposed to be pegged at 1.75 percent, the government has now reviewed the rate to 1.5 percent but the levy is still facing resistance by a section of the Ghanaian public and the Minority in Parliament.
The government has since been on a tour of the country engaging the public in what has been christened ‘Government Townhall Meeting on E-Levy’ aimed at rallying support for the proposed tax policy.
Speaking in Wa in the Upper West Region during the fourth townhall meeting, Mr. Ofori-Atta said government needs the money to be able to take care of critical government expenditure in addition to building infrastructure and creating jobs.
He said even though the E-Levy may not bring in a lot of money, what would be realized should be enough to support the government.
He added that had the Minority not resisted the policy, government would have started realizing money which would have been used to pay District Assembly Common Fund.
“E-levy as small as you might think, it will be GH¢7 billion, starting this year if we had started early so we could pay your District Assembly Common Fund but your [opposition] sitting on it,” he said.
The Minister observed that majority of the Members of Parliament (MPs) in the 11 constituencies in the Upper West are NDC and that he is not surprised they do not support the e-levy.
“If I look at Upper West where we have 11 constituencies…we have 340,000 people being youth with serious issues of unemployment with eight of our MPs coming from the NDC. What reason will they have to support an e-levy which is looking about GH¢10 billion intervention called YouStart which is looking at getting to the heart of employment,” he said.
“Hate NPP all you want but what about your 340,000 youth who need jobs? What is the reason?” he wondered.
But Haruna Iddrisu said “He is reported to have said in the Upper West region that pay E-levy for me to be able to pay the District Assembly Common Fund.
“Ghanaians should dismiss him with utmost contempt as an insincere minister who is not upholding the values of the provisions of Article 252 of the 1992 constitution, which requires that five per cent of total revenue is deducted to the District Assembly Common Fund.
“He is in arrears from 2018 to 2019, 2020 to 2021. He is in arrears of over ¢2,133,000,000 yet, he has been collecting revenues and just a dedicated five percent of that revenue, as is required of him by the 1992 constitution, he has not made it available.
“That is why many Regional Coordinating Councils, District Assemblies have become dysfunctional because they do not have the basic resources to run effectively. So he should stop misleading the Ghanaian public, using District Assembly Common Fund as justification to impose E-levy.”