After losing at the Committee level, NDC MPs pledge to take resistance to E-levy to plenary

Cassiel Ato Forson

Controversies surrounding the E-levy is not going to end anytime soon as a member of the Finance Committee in Ghana’s legislature, Cassiel Ato Forson has disclosed that the government is seeking to pass the E-levy under certificate of urgency.

Today’s deliberations on the controversial E-levy ended in a deadlock with a split decision from 24 legislators on the Finance Committee on Monday, December 20 2021.

All 12 lawmakers in the Minority caucus voted against the government’s decision to have the bill treated under a certificate of urgency while the twelve others from the Majority side on the Committee voted in support.

 The Chairman of the Committee who is also an NPP MP voted to break the deadlock in favour of the government’s decision.

During a press briefing, lawmakers for Ajumako Enyan Essiam, Cassiel Ato Forson revealed that his side will take the fight to the plenary after failing to arrest the bill at the committee level.

“You can see clearly a government that is not ready to listen, a government that is determined to push the agenda regardless of its impact to the people of Ghana

“This morning the Finance Committee held a meeting and we have just come out from the meeting. At the meeting, we needed to first determine whether we can consider the electronic transfer levy bill before us on a certificate of urgency or not.

“At that point, we in the Minority argued that it cannot be considered under certificate of urgency for a simple reason that we have received petition from the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunication.

“In fact, the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications on the 1st of December 2021 wrote a letter to the Rt Honourable Speaker, the Parliament of Ghana Accra. and to the attention of the Honourable Joseph Osei Wusu for us to first invite them and listen to them.

“And they believe that they have an alternative way of generating revenue as against what the government seeks to do and they have actually tabulated the negative impact of this levy to government. We argue that it is important that government or Parliament, at the minimum, meet with them and listen to them. The NPP Majority in Parliament had said that they do not believe that.”

Parliament on Friday, December 17 passed the appropriation bill but did not consider the E-levy. The consideration of the E-levy was shifted to today Monday.

The introduction of the levy met resistance from the Minority caucus in Parliament. The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said his side has resolved that they would not support the policy proposal because it serves as a disincentive for the growth of the digital economy.

Speaking at a post-budget workshop in Ho on Saturday, November 20, he said “Mr Speaker, understandably, we see that the Minister of Finance seeks to introduce some measures including the now popularly declared E-levy or digital levy as some have quite named it.

“Mr Speaker, our concern is whether the e-levy itself is not and will not be a disincentive to the growth of digital economy in our country. We are convinced that the e-levy may as well even be a disincentive to investment and a disincentive to private sector development in our country. We in the minority may not and will not support government with the introduction of that particular E-levy . We are unable to build national consensus  on that particular matter.”

By: Stella Annan | Twitter @activetvgh


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