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Akufo-Addo: We’ll fix challenges in passing the E-Levy

President Akufo-Addo says it has become necessary to “look within for our sustainability” as a country and to raise revenue through domestic instruments such as the E-Levy

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed worry over the delay in passing the controversial E-Levy Bill in Parliament.

The president argued that it has become necessary for Ghana, as a country, to “look within for our sustainability” and not depend on aid, hence the introduction of the E-Levy.

Addressing chiefs and elders of the Dzodze Traditional Area when they paid a courtesy call on him at Jubilee House in Accra on Tuesday (1 February 2022), President Akufo-Addo said in spite of the setback the government has faced in Parliament in trying to introduce the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-Levy), it will persevere to find the means to address the most pressing issues affecting the country.

“It is not going to be possible for us in Ghana to continue for ever to be dependent on foreign grants and foreign loans to keep our economy going. We ourselves will have to find the money for our development,” Akufo-Addo said.

“That is the reason why it has become necessary for us to introduce these measures, like this famous tax [the E-Levy], which has caused so much unnecessary (in my view) disputation.

“I am determined to persevere to make sure that we find the means to address our issues as a country,” the president said.

Togbui Dey III, the paramount chief of the Dzodze Traditional Area, led the delegation to visit the president. He made multiple requests, including the building of a market in the area and the expansion of Dzodze’s water system.

President Akufo-Addo assured members of the delegation that their requests will be given all the attention they deserve by the relevant state institutions.

“Presidency’s silence is worrying”

Kwame Jantuah, a private legal practitioner, had earlier expressed disappointment over what he described as the seeming silence of the Office of the President regarding the E-Levy impasse in Parliament.

On Friday (28 January), after further consultations, the Minority in Parliament rejected a reduction of the Electronic Transaction Levy to 1.5% from 1.75%.

 

“The president and his vice have been silent on this matter and I don’t understand why,” Jantuah told Asaase News. “In situations like this, I want to listen to his words. Even if he won’t speak, he should act as referee.

“It’s embarrassing what’s happening in Parliament and it will happen again. I’m not for the politicisation of E-Levy. The sad thing about it is that the Minister for Finance is trying to make this a patriotic issue but it’s not a patriotic issue,” he said.

Jantuah further called on the government to come clear on what it intends to do if the E-Levy is not passed, to correct the erroneous impression that the economy will collapse without the new tax.

“Are they saying that if they don’t get the E-Levy, they won’t undertake projects and the economy will collapse? In any case, they’re supposed to make sure the economy doesn’t collapse.

“What’s the plan B for the E-Levy?” Jantuah asked. “And is it true that if we don’t get the E-Levy, the economy will collapse? Or they’re just trying to frighten us?”

Fred Dzakpata

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