The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has declared the yet-to-be introduced Electronic Levy (E- Levy) a necessary tool to increase the country’s tax-to-GDP from 13% to a targeted 16% or more and has clarified which transactions will be affected once the tax comes into force.
Taking his turn at the Information Minister’s regular press briefing on Wednesday, Ken Ofori-Atta said that “the E-Levy will not only ensure that we move towards a more sustainable debt level but will also ensure that we have the revenues to sustainably invest in entrepreneurship, youth employment, cybersecurity, digital and road infrastructure”.
“The E-Levy also provides a means for all Ghanaians to help support their country and grow this economy as compliant citizens giving to Caesar what belongs to Caesar .
“Undeniably, digitalization is eroding the traditional resilience of bricks-and-mortar enterprises. “With fewer transactions happening across the counter, there is an increased risk that some of the standard revenue generation and tax measures will gradually become obsolete,” Ofori-Atta said.
The Minister noted that following the presentation of the Budget on 17 November and the discussions that followed, the government has “had extensive stakeholder engagements including Parliament, representatives of FBOs, the banks and Chamber of Telecommunications, civil society organizations.
“I have had smaller intimate conversations with citizens across a few constituencies in Ghana.
“The various concerns have been heard and we have found a way to address these concerns without an adverse fiscal impact,” the Finance Minister said.
According to Ofori-Atta, “After extensive consultations, the E-Levy will be resubmitted to Parliament this month [January].
“We look forward to joining hands with our Honourable Members of Parliament to approve the E-Levy on a consensus basis, so we can collectively address the big issue of unemployment.
“Let me be clear today. The E-Levy will cover: mobile money transfers between accounts on the same electronic money issuer (EMI), mobile money transfers from an account on one EMI to a recipient on another EMI, transfers from bank accounts to mobile money accounts, transfer from mobile money accounts to bank accounts and bank transfers on a digital platform or application which originates from a bank account belonging to an individual to another individual,” Ofori-Atta said.
“I emphasize that the E-Levy will not impact: cumulative transfers of GHC100 per day made by the same person, transfers between accounts owned by the same person, transfers for the payment of taxes, fees and charges on the Ghana government platform, electronic clearing of cheques, specified merchant payments (that is, payments to commercial establishments registered with the GRA for income tax and VAT purposes), and transfers between the principal, master agent and agent’s accounts,” the Finance Minister said.
The Finance Minister announced that, in the lead-up to the resubmission to Parliament, a team comprising himself, “colleague ministers and other key members of government will embark on a public engagement and sensitization campaign across the country.
“We intend to communicate clearly on the proposed mechanics of the E-Levy [and] its potential benefits to the people of Ghana within the spirit of burden-sharing that must guide us in our development efforts as we move to Ghana Beyond Aid,” Ofori-Atta said.
By: Isaac Clottey