The Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, says his side will readily accept a reduction of the proposed electronic transaction levy (e-levy) to one per cent from the 1.75 per cent.
“A week ago, it was no no no, we won’t accept e-levy but having listened to officials in government, including the Minister of Finance … I am convinced to accept a departure from my original no to accepting a one per cent e-levy,” he said.
Mr Iddrisu said this at the 10th Anniversary launch of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications in Accra on Thursday.
Pegging the e-levy at one per cent was a great contribution to fiscal consolidation and would ensure the economy did not collapse going forward, he said.
The digital economy was doing well and had facilitated a revolution in financial inclusion, hence it was unwise to overburden the telecommunication sector, Mr Iddrisu said.
“We are not against it but we want it fixed at one per cent. We fear for double taxation because we already have the communication services tax,” he said.
The Member of Parliament of Tamale Central initially disagreed with the deduction fee for business transactions not exceeding the GHc100.00 threshold a day and called for it to be pegged at Ghc 500.00.
But in a similar vein, he suggested that the money be pegged at Ghc300.00 after revising his notes.
Mr Iddrisu said Ghanaians needed to pay tax to help develop the country but not one that would further put constraints on their tight purse.
Dr Kenneth Ashigbey, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, alluded to the responsibility of paying tax for development considering the budget deficits and debts.
However, he said the way taxes were introduced to generate revenue must be looked at so it did not become inimical to government’s digitisation drive and financial inclusion.
Government’s push for entrepreneurship amongst the youth for job creation in the face of a 1.75 e-levy was a matter of concern, Dr Ashigbey said, and that the Chamber was engaging government to see the best way out.
On the issue of widening the tax net, he said merchant payment should be exempted completely from the e-levy.
“The Chamber believes that artisans including masons, dressmakers, and painters get paid after work done and do not pay tax. They need to be part of the merchant ecosystem, and to do so there must be no levy on merchant payment,” he said.
“Once their wallet is taxed, they will venture into the merchant ecosystem, it gives government visibility of revenues they make. Government then charges corporate income taxes at the end of the year if they file their expenditures.”