– Government must not fail Mother Ghana
In my write-up on the E-Levy headlined: “Mother Ghana’s Lamentation – Will the E-Levy dry her falling tears?” published in The Chronicle of Thursday May 12, 2022, I indicated that the E-Levy would “dry the falling tears of Mother Ghana” and so it must be supported so that she would be counted among developed nations and further discourage some of her children from taking risks in seeking greener pastures abroad.
The Electronic Transfer Levy, affectionately called the E-Levy, had run the gauntlet of bitter criticisms, before its implementation, which started on May 1, 2022. The criticisms even still, go on at a frightening speed of 500 kilometres per minute! This is to be expected in a country where not many taxpayers can be found in the tax net.
The “harm” has already been done; the E-Levy is being collected by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). To implement the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy) is one thing and to make it serve its relevant purpose is quite a different thing altogether.
Herein lies the importance of the admonition given by the Supreme Court to the Ghana Revenue Authority “TO KEEP ACCURATE RECORDS OF THE AMOUNTS DEDUCTED” … (Emphasis mine).
At the moment, there is a salubrious breeze of expectancy among Ghanaians that they are going to enjoy development projects and provision of amenities such as potable water, health facilities, good roads, modern school buildings etc. This great expectation has encouraged Ghanaians to draw the attention of the government to their needs through demonstrations, TV programmes, etc.
The government should not ignore the concerns of the communities,which have already been assured that the E-Levy is, truly, going tolay golden eggs to be used to saturate Ghana with modern development projects.
To help the government to know which communities need help, I suggested in my previous conversation that a committee comprising Members of Parliament, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), Presiding Members of District Level Assemblies and Traditional rulers in the Districts and towns should be set up todraw lists of the developmental needs for the attention of the government. This is to avoid discrimination in the sharing of the national cake to be baked by the E-Levy in superfluity.
The government is left with about two and a half years to convince Ghanaians that the E-levy is meant to transform Ghana. To this end, priority attention should be given to road networks in the rural areas. This is because it is from the rural areas that foodstuffs are conveyed to the buying centres.
When the roads are bad, post-harvest losses are recorded, leading to high prices of foodstuffs.
Sick people, including pregnant women suffer a lot, when being driven on bumpy roads to health facilities. This may lead to miscarriages; other sick people too may suffer worsened health problems.
There are some communities whose schools buildings are death traps while at the same time, the school children sit on the floor to write and study. Against his background of the fact that education is the main index of civilization, improving educational infrastructure must be among governmental concerns.
Also, in some communities, impure water is their main problem; they drink from coloured streams and need urgent attention from the government.
I have enumerated some of the urgent demands of communities with the hope that, if by the end of 2023 everything has been put in place as some of the legacies of the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy) and that, others will have their turn in 2024, they will be convinced of the usefulness of the E-Levy and put their full support on it.
If, however, by 2023 ending, NOTHING is there in favour of this novel E-Levy, nobody should be made responsible for the death of Antwi; it was Antwi who killed himself.
However, some colleagues are of the strongest conviction that all communities in Ghana will be proud beneficiaries of this Asantrofi Anoma E-Levy, and so may it be.
For those who do not know this bird and what it stands for, a little explanation is relevant. The full proverb in the Twi language is “Asantrofi Anoma, wofa noa, w’afa mmusuo; se wogyae no nso a, w’agyae sradee” to wit (if one picks up the bird called Asantrofi, one has picked an object of taboo and when one ignores it too, one missesa fortune). What a bird!
Well, this bird will make us dizzy. Let’s leave it to the Economic Management Team of the government to deal with it decisively. Over to you then, Your Excellency Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Head of Government Economic Management Team.
His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, former president may appreciate the proverbial warning positing that “A ball thrown at a wall bounces back to the thrower with ferocious force.”
Brother Mahama may find another target for criticism and leave the E-Levy, which Ghanaians indeed, secretly admire with great expectation of being capable of solving their developmental and infrastructural needs.
By Godfried K. Arhen-Kumi
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s stance.