The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has indicated that the introduction of the electronic levy (E-levy) for revenue mobilisation to improve the economy was a better option than going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance.
The E-levy, he said had the potential of raking in GH¢7 billion for the country if it had commenced this year, a figure which according to him was higher than what the country received under the last IMF intervention in 2015.
“What will the IMF give you, the last time they did it was a billion dollars in a three-year programme which was US$ 300 million a year for three years and e-levy as small as we see it would have given us GH¢7 billion if we had started this year,” he stated.
The minister stated this yesterday at Wa when the Upper West Region took its turn to host the town hall meeting to explain to Ghanaians the rudiments of the levy.
The meeting brought together traditional rulers, politicians, heads of departments as well as leadership of student councils in the various tertiary institutions across the region and representatives from the informal sector.
The minister said the e-levy was needed to meet the increasing demands for development and job creation and to also continue to embark on social interventions.
“Salaries for instance are indecent but still accounts for 60 per cent of government’s expenditure and there are calls for increment which are very legitimate but can only be achieved through the introduction of the e-levy which will offer the citizenry the opportunity to share in the burden of government,” he said.
Mr Ofori-Atta mentioned that the economy was fraught with demand for jobs, salary increment, the need to implement social interventions as well as reducing the nation’s debt stock and said these responsibilities could be met if the e-levy was accepted for implementation.
Benefits to counter unemployment
He indicated that there were over 34,000 unemployed youth in the Upper West Region who could benefit from the e-levy if it was implemented, as a portion of it would be used for the YouStart programme by resourcing the youth for entrepreneurship.
“We are moving from an electronic business that was earning GH¢78 billion in 2016 to GH¢950 billion in 2021 and going to continue, why should we not begin to tax so that we can do the work that we all need to do? ” he queried.
He encouraged the public to buy into the new tax policy in order to raise enough revenue to support the economy.
Digitalisation to ensure accountability
Adding his voice, Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Mr Amidu Chinnia Issahaku, said the government was resorting to digitisation to check corruption which was a major concern of some adamant Ghanaians.
He assured that the funds from the e-levy would be safeguarded and used for the intended purposes for which they were collected.
While some participants raised the issue of reducing the threshold of the levy, others wanted the government to scrap the e-levy and look at other sources of taxation, such as increasing taxes of workers who earned more than GH¢3,000 a month.