The Member of Parliament for Okaikwei Central, Mr. Patrick Yaw Boamah, has opined that the government of Ghana has a responsibility to cut down on its expenditure and be transparent to the people if they want the people to pay more taxes.
The legislator posited that the government must be accountable and make judicious use of its generated revenue, Ghanaians will have no concern paying more taxes to help develop the country
He was responding to the brouhaha surrounding the introduction of the controversial E-Levy by the government.
The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta in presenting the 2022 Budget to Parliament announced the scrapping of road tolls and the introduction of E-levy to cover Mobile money transactions, remittances, and other electronic transactions.
“Total value of transactions for 2020 was estimated to be over GHS 500 billion Cedis compared to GH¢78 billion Cedis in 2016 just 5 years ago, while total mobile money subscribers and active mobile money users have grown by an average rate of 18% and 16% respectively between 2016 and 2019. Mr. Speaker, it is becoming clear there exists an enormous potential to increase tax revenues by bringing into the tax bracket, transactions that could be best defined as being undertaken in the “shadow economy”.
“After considerable deliberations, the Government has decided to place a levy on all electronic transactions to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector. This shall be known as the “Electronic Transaction Levy or E-Levy,” he told Parliament.
The levy has generated heated debate with some asking for it to be scrapped.
But the legislator who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament says the issues raised are genuine but the levy was also important.
“The managers of the economy have assessed the economy and understand our current position. They have done all the calculations and found ways to collect revenue to develop the country. The E-Levy was approved to help raise revenue because several persons were outside the tax bracket. The E-Levy is a way to help collect revenue to help develop the country. Ghanaians must appreciate it.
We have removed over 17 nuisance taxes since we came into government. We need more revenue to develop Ghana but without money, we cannot do it. We have been told to stop borrowing and find new ways to develop Ghana and the E-Levy is a way to help us do that.”
He argued it would help the country embark on several developmental projects.
He told host Kwabena Agyapong the mixed feelings from Ghanaians are genuine as a responsible government, we must account for what we use our resources for. That is the only way Ghanaians will be able to pay the taxes.
“Ghanaians have no problem paying more taxes. They want the government to use the taxes collected for its intended purpose. This is something the government must consider. The government has a responsibility to ensure Ghanaians have that confidence. We must cut down on certain expenditures and be accountable to the people. That aspect of public education and confidence must be pursued.
I will employ the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Ministry of Finance, and the government information machinery to focus on that and educate the public. The government must also cut down on certain aspects of expenditure. We must look at the budget and cut down certain expenditures. If we do that Ghanaians will have confidence in paying more taxes.”