Economist and lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Prof Lord Mensah, has called for government’s proposed Electronic Transactions Levy (E-Levy) to be run as a project in various phases.
He told Kojo Yankson, Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host on Thursday that the Levy starting at 1.75% is quite harsh for the citizens.
“If you ask me whether that’s the best way to go about it, I would say it’s a bit too harsh to jump to the 1.75% especially when we have a history of collecting revenue for the purpose and the monies are not used for that purpose,” he said.
He said government should start by introducing the Levy at a smaller percentage, which should be targeted at providing a certain project, such that the citizenry can easily see a direct link between what is collected and what it is used for.
“Government should run this e-levy policy as a project for which they will roll it out in phases. So maybe at the first phase government will start off with 1% for which at the end of the day we can identify certain projects for which the levy collected at this phase was used.
Then at the next phase, there could be an increase in the percentage.
“I listened to the Finance Minister and he indicated that we need to do burden-sharing. We accept that but we want to see evidence of what our monies are doing. The typical Ghanaian wants to see evidence of what their contribution to the nation is doing.
“So, therefore, the government should come up with projects like e-levy roads, and you task me 1% and I see the 1% is working; giving me roads, creating jobs for my us, etc. hospitals, then the government can move to 1.25% which I’ll be ready to pay because it has already whet my appetite with the project from the previous levies collected,” he said.
“And I understand that government needs the targeted amount it intends to raise with the levy within the fiscal year but tax policies are not policies that you may look at within a certain fiscal year. You may roll it up for about 5 years and achieve the target it wants,” he added.
Government is still pushing for the E-Levy to be implemented despite great resistance from the Minority in Parliament.
According to government, the Levy is introduced to “widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector.”
In the latest update from government, the Finance Minister said his Ministry’s engagement with many Ghanaians across the different constituencies, found that Ghanaians are not against the Levy.
In a media briefing on Wednesday, the Minister said people are rather concerned about accountability and has promised that government will be accountable for what the funds will be used for.