Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, believes the government has already shown its unwillingness to revise the proposed Electronic Transactions Levy.
He says the inability of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to provide a clear plan on the implementation of the E-levy when he reappeared before the House on Tuesday, to conclude the debate for the controversial approval of the budget is enough to prove his case.
That is not the MP’s only grounds. He also maintains that the government’s failure to issue a formal communique to reverse the levy is indicative that it is bent on going ahead with its intention to roll out the policy.
E-levy, which is a 1.75 percent charge on all electronic transactions has been one of the major reasons the Minority is not in support of the 2022 Budget. It has has described it as super-regressive and wants it abolished.
The government has however given indications that, it is ready to engage for the revision of the proposed E-levy following concerns raised since its announcement in the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy last week.
But Mahama Ayariga is of the view government is only paying lip service because it really lacks the commitment adding, “there is no clear communication that government will reduce the taxes or scrap the E-levy”.
“The real issue is E-levy and that is the priority but there is no clear communication. What is said on radio or television and what communicators say doesn’t make a pronouncement of official government policy”.
“We were expecting that when the Finance Minister was given the opportunity yesterday [Tuesday] to round up the debate, he would have been specific that this what they are doing about E-levy; but he just said that they will see what they they can do about it. That is what we got from him”, Mahama Ayariga said on The Point of View on Citi TV.
The Bawku Central MP also noted that, the Majority has underestimated his side’s opposition to the E-levy, leading to the walkout by the Majority last Friday and the subsequent rejection of the budget.
Commenting on the Minority’s rejection of the budget, Mahama Ayariga said it was because the Majority did not treat threats of voting against the E-levy with much attention.
“They [Majority] didn’t think we were serious about it [E-levy]. They thought that we will debate it as usual, people will talk about it and then they will have their way. It was the day of concluding the debate and voting that it appeared to them that we were serious about all that we have been saying and in fact we voted against it.”
“This budget is based on some key policy measures and those measures are geared towards raising revenues. But it appears that, government will not budge to those policy measures. So if you were monitoring our debate in parliament, we said that if this is it [budget], we will not vote for it. Even the speaker said, if you keep E-Levy, we will not vote for this budget and there was no indication from the government until the day we were concluding the debate.”