Vice President of IMANI Africa, Bright Simons is strongly convinced, the government’s pursuit of raking $1.5 billion in revenue from the soon-to-be-introduced Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy) is practically impossible.
The 1.75% E-levy has become a controversial subject in the country, with both sides in Parliament sharply divided over its approval.
While the Majority is fully in support of the levy, the Minority wants it rejected.
But the government is bent on having it passed because it expects to raise about GH¢6 billion in tax revenue from the E-levy to tackle some socio-economic challenges.
Speaking on the feasibility of the levy on the Point of View on Citi TV, Bright Simon asserted that, the planned mode of implementation of the E-levy and the exemptions being granted if assessed critically, give room for easy evasion, thereby making the government miss out on its revenue target.
“Government cannot raise the $1.5 billion from the E-levy because the way in which they are anticipating the exemptions to work does not anticipate behavioural changes. People will find all manner of ways to beat the system, and we have seen it in many countries. If you don’t design it right, E-levy is not anything novel. To design it right, it can be someone sitting in the Finance Ministry announcing it and every NPP MP just lines up to vote for it. There must be debates within the NPP itself about its design,” he said.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-AAtta, has said following the conclusion of extensive consultations on the controversial Electronic Transaction Levy, the government is set to resubmit the Bill before Parliament.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said the government expects legislators to approve the document when it is put before Parliament later this month.
“After extensive consultations, the e-levy will be re-submitted to Parliament this month. We look forward to joining hands with our Honourable Members of Parliament to approve the e-levy on a consensus basis, so we can collectively address the big issue of unemployment”, the Minister said.
E-Levy will cover:
a. Mobile Money Transfers between accounts on the same electronic money issuer (EMI).
b. Mobile Money transfers from an account on one EMI to a recipient on another EMI.
c. Transfers from bank accounts to mobile money accounts.
d. Transfer from mobile money accounts to bank accounts.
e. Bank transfers on a digital platform or application originate from a bank account belonging to an individual to another individual.
E-Levy will not impact:
a. Cumulative transfers of GHS 100 per day made by the same person.
b. Transfers between accounts owned by the same person.
c. Transfers for the payment of taxes, fees, and charges on the Ghana.gov platform.
d. Electronic Clearing of Cheques.
e. Specified merchant payments (i.e. payments to commercial establishments registered with GRA for Income Tax and VAT purposes).
f. Transfers between principal, master-agent, and agent’s accounts.