The Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, believes the government has already demonstrated its unwillingness to revise the proposed Electronic Transactions Levy.
He claims that the inability of Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to provide a clear plan for the implementation of the E-levy when he returned to the House on Tuesday to conclude the debate on the contentious budget approval is enough to prove his case.
That is not the only reason given by the MP. He also believes that the government’s failure to issue a formal communique to reverse the levy demonstrates that it is determined to implement the policy.
One of the main reasons the Minority opposes the 2022 Budget is the E-levy, a 1.75 percent charge on all electronic transactions. It has been called “super-regressive,” and it should be repealed.
However, the government has indicated that it is willing to engage in discussions to revise the proposed E-levy in response to concerns raised since its announcement in the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy last week.
However, according to Mahama Ayariga, the government is only paying lip service because it lacks commitment, adding that “there is no clear communication that the government will reduce taxes or scrap the E-levy.”
“The real issue is the E-levy, which is the priority, but there has been no clear communication.” What is said on radio or television, or what communicators say, is not an official government policy pronouncement.”
“We were expecting the Finance Minister to be specific about what they are doing about the E-levy when he was given the opportunity yesterday [Tuesday] to round up the debate; instead, he just said that they will see what they can do about it.” That’s what we got from him,” Mahama Ayariga said on Citi TV’s The Point of View.
The Bawku Central MP also stated that the Majority underestimated his party’s opposition to the E-levy, which resulted in the walkout last Friday and subsequent rejection of the budget.
In response to the Minority’s rejection of the budget, Mahama Ayariga stated that the rejection was due to the Majority’s failure to take threats of voting against the E-levy seriously.
“They [the Majority] didn’t believe we were serious about [the E-levy].” They assumed that we would debate it as usual, that people would discuss it, and that they would then have their way. It was on the day of the debate’s conclusion and voting that it appeared to them that we were serious about everything we had been saying, and we voted against it.”
“This budget is determined by a number of key policy measures, all of which are aimed at increasing revenue.”
“However, the government appears unwilling to budge on the policy measures. So, if you were watching our debate in parliament, you would have heard us say that if this is it [the budget], we will not vote for it.
“Even the speaker stated, If you keep E-Levy, we will not vote for this budget, and the government gave no indication until the day we were concluding the debate.”