Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Telecommunications Chamber, Kenneth Ashigbey, has revealed that his outfit is hopeful of engaging government on the proposed electronic transaction levy to ensure the financial sector isn’t interrupted and as well help government in raising revenue.
According to him, so far as this particular levy is “concerned”, there was no engagement with the industry before this “imposition” was done. Mr Ashigbey explained that contained in the budget read by the Finance Minister, there is going to be some engagements on the proposed levy following the announcement.
The telco Chamber CEO underscored the need for engagement to take place as it will ensure that the digital transaction sector is not disrupted.
“So, we are hopeful that we will go into this engagement with an open mind so that we can all help in contributing to the objective of raising revenue but also ensuring that the digital financial sector is not disrupted, ensuring that financial inclusion is fixed, ensuring that government’s digitalization policy continues and the poor and the vulnerable are also taken care of”.Mr Kenneth Ashigbey
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in his delivery of the 2022 budget announced that the introduction of Electronic Transaction Levy which is intended to increase tax revenues for the country is pegged at a rate of 1.75% on all electronic transactions.
By extension, the e-levy covers mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and remittances, which shall be borne by the sender except inward remittances, which will be borne by the recipient.
Following the announcement, there has been agitation among the public over its feasibility in the country and its capacity to put a strain on the ordinary Ghanaian.
Electronic levy was well researched
Earlier, Deputy Finance Minister, John Kumah, revealed that the E-levy is one of the equitable and progressive taxes introduced by the government. He noted that the government had adequately researched the digital space before introducing the levy.
“Government did not just start by coming to introduce E-levy. We have gone through years of preparation investing in digitalization and making sure we have interoperability developing in such a special payment system that is one of the best in the world and there has been consistent growth to a level of maturity in the estimation of government that we think it is about time that we go into the digital space…”Mr John Kumah
Meanwhile, finance minister, expressed that the E-levy will not discourage entrepreneurship as its purpose is not to impose further difficulties for existing businesses in the country.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta intimated that the significance of the 1.75% E-levy is to provide government with the necessary wherewithal to support local entrepreneurs.
Touching on partnership with banks, Mr Ofori Atta revealed that government has decided to accelerate its portfolio allocation to qualifying SMEs. To achieve this, he explained that banks will over the next three years increase their lending to qualifying SMEs by between “GH¢2.5 billion and GH¢5 billion” thereby increasing industry SME portfolio.