Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, has urged the public to reflect on how to resolve key challenges confronting the country amid diverse views on the Government’s decision to impose a 1.75 per cent E-Levy on Mobile Money and other electronic transactions.
“Even as we speak about the issues of E-Levy, we should ask ourselves about the issues of youth employment; about 10 million people around the country, the issue of where we are with our debt levels, and the issue of road infrastructure.
“What is it that we are going to do to burden-share and really draw the line that this is a chance to a new beginning, and what sacrifices should we all make to change the situation?” he asked when he launched the 73rd Annual New Year School and Conference at Legon on Tuesday.
The E-Levy, which was announced by the Finance Minister during the 2022 Budget presentation in Parliament, imposes a 1.75 per cent tax on mobile money and other electronic (E) transactions that exceed ¢100 per customer per day.
The announcement has since attracted varied reactions among the public concerning the appropriateness of the levy.
Whereas a section of the public completely rejects the levy, others have called for a downward review of the rate to ensure that it did not stifle interest in digital payment services.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the issue of unemployment was a major concern for the Government, hence the decision to anchor the 2022 budget on building entrepreneurial nation and supporting the private sector to overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the Government would also focus on fast-tracking the country’s economic recovery, stressing that the government had since March 2020 spent close to GHC 11 billion on numerous interventions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on livelihoods and businesses.
“Going into 2022, we are faced with different set of challenges. Our population has grown to 30.8 million. Eleven million people are within the ages of 15 and 35, which means that we are getting increasingly younger and we must do something about it,” he said.
The New Year School and Conference, an initiative of the School of Continuing and Distance Education (SCDE) of the University of Ghana (UG), brings together experts and academia to discuss topical national issues at the beginning of every year.
The 73rd edition, which will be held from 17th January to 21st January, 2022, is on the theme: “COVID-19 and Socio-economic dynamics in Ghana.”
Prof. Olivia A.T.F. Kwapong, the Dean of the School of Continuing and Distance Education, said the Conference would among others, explore various ways by which all sectors of the economy were putting in measures to enhance the wellbeing of the average Ghanaian.
Topics to be discussed include emerging technologies and innovations in healthcare delivery during pandemics, COVID-19 and global peace security, and consolidating the gains of COVID-19 in education.
“The Finance Ministry is assisting us to use a keynote speaker from Singapore, Mr Tharman Shanmugarathnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policy in Singapore,” she added.