Late last month, Members of Parliament exchanged blows on the floor of the house when it was time to vote on the Electronic Transactions Bill, popularly referred to as E-levy.
Government has recently announced that the Bill will be resubmitted before the House even as the Minority have also vowed that their stiff opposition to it will remain.
For Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the E-levy has been technically approved by Parliament.
His position is hinged on the argument that the E-levy is contained in the 2022 budget and economic policy of government as well as the Appropriation Bill – both of which have been approved by Parliament.
“On three levels, we have passed the E-Levy. That is because it formed part of the budget. We approved of the budget and by extension of reason, the E-Levy,” he stated in an interview with privately-owned newspaper, Daily Guide.
According to the MP for Suame, proceeds expected from the E-levy had been factored into making estimates for the appropriation for this year, hence government must get the needed revenue to execute its plans and programmes.
“Then we came to do allocations to all the sectors fed by receivables from the E-Levy and we approved of them by the entire House, and finally the Appropriations Act, which is why I am saying that I find it extremely difficult for anybody to say, having done or taken these three steps, I am now tracing my steps back to say that I can’t support it,” he added.
“We will certainly have to find a way about it because it is already in the budget that we have approved,” he stressed.
He pointed out how the Minority MPs despite their stiff opposition in the beginning have softened their stance adding that these same MPs had sat through legislative work that resulted in the passage of two laws that had E-levy embedded in them.
“We really need to give it some consideration. I think that the House must pass it. You (referring to the Minority) agreed and approved at that level by voting for them, then the Appropriations Bill which encapsulates all the allocations of revenues and expenditures received unanimous acceptance and approval by the House. That has been done.
“Because the E-Levy is not already in place, it was fed into the budget which we have approved, what is left now is to use legal means to introduce the E-Levy Bill, the takings of which have found expressions in the budget approved.
“How does anybody then say that I don’t want to approve of the law? That is the difficulty that I have,” he added.
On November 17, 2021, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced the introduction of 1.75% tax on all electronic transactions during the 2022 budget presentation before parliament.
According to him, this new directive forms part of strategies to widen the country’s tax net.
He added that the 1.75% tax is also to enhance financial inclusion and protect the vulnerable in the country.
The E-levy since its announcement by the Finance Minister has received public backlash by some Ghanaians especially Members of Parliament from the Minority Caucus.
At a recent press conference, the Minister announced a number of modifications to the Bill and announced that government continued to engage stakeholders on the bill ahead of resubmission before MPs. Parliament resumes on January 25, 2022.