Editorial: Let’s criticise constructively

November 25, 2021 By 0 Comments

The Member of Parliament (MP) for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, has suggested that the introduction of the electronic transaction levy (e-levy) is not the best way for the government to generate revenue, because it is retrogressive and lacks clarity.

This submission follows the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta’s announcement of the introduction of a 1.75% levy on all digital transactions in the 2022 Budget.

The government is seeking to raise a total revenue of GH¢6.9 billion from taxes on the e-Levy next year.

The levy, the Minister said, will be borne by persons who send money through any digital platforms except for inward remittances, which will be borne by the recipient.

According to the Legislator, there is no way the claim by the government that this would lead to expanding the tax net would be achieved.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Legislator is saying the government’s revenue generation target cannot be attained through the levy, adding that the Minority in Parliament will not support its implementation.

We are not against the debate for or against the e-levy, however, The Chronicle is a bit surprised at the position of the Legislator, that the proposed levy is retrogressive.

The Chronicle is surprised, because we have been made aware that all governments exist for the welfare of the people, and for that matter every policy or programme is aimed at improving the conditions of the people.

It is in that regard that we believe that for the MP to describe the proposed e-levy by the government as retrogressive, is a bit mischievous, to say the least.

If the MP is seeking further clarification on the proposed levy, that would seem more nationalistic than the pessimistic approach he has adopted.

The Chronicle has been following arguments by some tax experts that the e-levy may amount to double taxation, and that amounts to a disincentive for the people to have recourse to using the e-process and promoting the digitisation agenda.

Mobile money users, on their part, have raised concerns that the levy, if approved, will worsen the economic hardships in the country.

According to them, the e-levy is different from other charges customers pay to service providers when performing any transaction.

In a democratic dispensation such as ours, all forms of opinions are welcome, and for that reason, we have no qualms with those raising genuine concerns against the proposed levy.

What we would wish could be avoid as a nation is discrediting every effort by people in authority who have the mandate to make our lives better.

The Chronicle is not suggesting we should not criticise government policies, but we should do so constructively in the interest of the people.

While we all continue to give our divergent opinions on the proposed levy, The Chronicle would like to urge the government to ensure that its intended engagement with the telecommunication companies on the policy is a fruitful one, and not a mere meeting to suppress the opinions of key stakeholders. We believe, once again, the government would give us a listening ear.