E-levy can collapse private sector-Kwame Jantuah

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Mr Kwame Jantuah, Chairman of the Oil and Gas Sector of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), says the introduction of e-levy can collapse businesses in the private sector of the economy.

He said though the levy if managed well could enhance socio-economic development, it could also cripple the engine of growth of the economy [the private sector] if the concerns raised by the Minority and some financial technology (fintech) companies were not addressed. Mr Jantuah said the levy could cause many Ghanaians to abandon mobile money transactions and save in banks.

He said, unfortunately, most of the banks preferred to do business with Government, not the private sector “Whether they put e-levy on it [mobile money (MoMo) transactions, inward remittances and ATM withdrawals] or they don’t, government wins.

“So, if people put their money back to the banks, government goes to the banks for loans because the banks know that it is guaranteed that government will pay. What does that do to the private sector as the engine of growth? It collapses because these same banks don’t give private sector the money,” he said in a discussion on a local radio station in Accra on Saturday.

He said the Government needed money in the form of taxes to fund development projects and urged it to explore other areas of raising revenue apart from the e-levy.

Mr Jantuah, also a former Vice Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), noted that over time, the trust of Ghanaians in government’s judicious use of taxes had waned and said there was the need for the Government to, “convince Ghanaians that the levy will be used judiciously

and the right way round it is for us to have a national dialogue.”

Mr Edward Bawa, the Member of Parliament for Bongo, said Government was putting more burden on

Ghanaians through the introduction of additional taxes.

He said the Sanitation and Pollution Levy (SPL) of 10 pesewas on the price per litre of petrol/diesel under the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA) and the Energy Sector Recovery Levy of 20 pesewas per litre on petrol/diesel under the ESLA, had brought hardship on the taxpayer.

These taxes were introduced in the 2021 budget as part of measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and to shore up revenue.

Meanwhile, Dr KabiruMahama, an Economic Policy Analyst at the Office of the Vice President, admitted that, “governments need to be more transparent and forthcoming to explain to citizens how much they spent.

“The Government is still of the view that we need to raise our tax revenue. The Government will continue to engage the Minority, and every stakeholder and the public and in the coming days, the Ministry of Finance will lead that process and come to a consensus as to the amount that should be reasonable for Ghanaians to be able to bear the burden with us as we develop and continue to transform this country.”

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