Ken Ofori-Atta: E-Levy to kick-start Ghana’s journey towards entrepreneurship

The finance minister says the E-Levy has the potential of increasing Ghana’s tax to GDP ratio from 13 to 16% and will also be used to support the YouStart initiative

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has said the introduction of the electronic transactions levy also known as E-Levy will help kick-start the country’s journey towards entrepreneurship.

According to him, the levy has the potential of increasing Ghana’s tax to GDP ratio from 13 to 16%,  explaining that the proceeds from the levy will be used to support the government’s key entrepreneurship-centered initiatives such as the YouStart.

“The E-Levy is intrinsically linked to the YouStart initiative. We consider the E-Levy is an essential tool to increase our tax to GDP from around 13% to 16% and above.

“The E-Levy would not only ensure that we do not crowd-out the private sector by reducing borrowing, but would also ensure that we have the revenues to sustainably invest in entrepreneurship, youth employment, cyber security, digital and road infrastructure. The E-Levy also provides a means for all Ghanaians to help support their country and grow,” Ofori-Atta said at the 73rd annual New Year School and Conference on Wednesday on the theme; “COVID-19 and Socio-Economic Dynamics in Ghana”.

Available data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) indicate that 11.5 million people are considered economically active. Of this number, 1.5 million people are unemployed estimating the unemployment rate among the population 15 years and older at 13.4%.

Ofori-Atta said that the country’s unemployment is inching closer to unacceptable levels hence, the government needs to put measures in place to address it. He explained that one of these measures is the YouStart initiative.

A vehicle for youth support

The Youstart initiative is a vehicle by the government to support the youth with developing commercially viable businesses, gaining access to capital, training, technical skills and mentoring to enable them launch and operate their businesses.

The programme is expected to remove the primary impediment to the growth of enterprise in Ghana, improve access to credit and incorporate the broader vision of the Ghana Beyond Aid under the Ghana CARES “Obaatan Pa” Programme.

This he said COVID has taught the country that we must re-orient our approach to job creation, mainly because the future of work has changed dramatically stressing that to give young people a better chance, government will prioritize skills development and enterprise promotion.

He said government focus on skills and entrepreneurship is informed by the gap in the job market emphasizing that the levy will help create numerous opportunities for the youth to create their own businesses and grow the capacity of the private sector to create jobs.

He said the YouStart isn’t just a political sound bite but one of the central missions of government which will commit approximately GHC 10 billion into entrepreneurship development and extend opportunities to the youth.

Daniel Donkor

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