Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Information Minister of Ghana, has debunked the assertions by the minority in Parliament that the government has refused to address the concerns of Ghanaians regarding the e-levy. He thus, expressed that the government is indeed sensitive to the plights of Ghanaians by making changes to the e-levy by removing bank charges following consultations.
Speaking after Parliament has adjourned sitting to next year, the Communication Minister noted that, the NPP government has listened to Ghanaians by removing the remittances, bank transfer, and merchant payments that was initially captured in the e-levy document.
“If you read paragraph 361 of the budget statements, the executive initially proposed inward remittances, bank transfers, merchant payments, Mobile money to be charged at 1.75 per cent in addition to the 2 per cent that already the Telcos are charging. After all the consultations and memos and engagements, remittances had been taken out, bank transfer of business had been taken out , merchant payment had been taken out, 0.25 of the money moneys operators charges had been taken out , so now it is no longer going to be a cumulative of about 3.75, it has now come to 3.5.”Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah pointed out that in the face of the reduction, he did not expect the minority on the finance committee to oppose the bill. He however, indicated that the government has done a lot of engagements regarding the e-levy. He thus, lamented minority’s entrenched position on the e-levy voting on the floor of parliament.
“That is evident that there has been engagement, there has been a listening. If all of that has taken place at the committee and you still think you are opposed to it and the vote has taken place and you have lost that vote, you don’t come onto the floor and resort to physical violence to prevent the business of the House from going on and I think we must be clear on that. Let us not mixed that with consult more, violence has never been a legitimate tool.”Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
Brawls in Parliament
Reacting to the pandemonium that happened on the floor of Parliament during the unsuccessful voting, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah called for the head of MPs that always resort to violent to register their displeasure.
“The first thing we need to is that, we need to deal with the growing conduct of some Members of Parliament that whenever they do not agree with something, whether it is the Speaker’s rule or a position of the executive or a position of Member of parliament, they resort to violence and physical attacks in the chamber.
“That is the reason for which we have had to adjourn today because today, Mr Speaker is still not in the House, we are not able to proceed with business without rancor. Because what it would mean is that, the First Deputy Speaker or the Second Deputy Speaker would have to take the Chair. Under the circumstances, if a matter comes up to a vote and he chooses to exercise his casting votes which he is entitled to, our colleagues on the other side will resort to violence.”Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
On the other hand the Minority in Parliament has accused the government of not listening to the concerns raised against the e-levy proposal.
Speaking to the media after the Finance Committee’s sitting on Monday, December 20, Mr Casiel Ato Forson, who is also a Member of Parliament for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam stated that the minority would reject the proposal.
“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.”Mr Casiel Ato Forson
Mr Casiel Ato Forson, however, advised the government to look elsewhere for revenues rather than insisting on the “regressive e-levy.”