Senior Vice President, IMANI-Africa, Kofi Bentil, has criticised government’s decision to generate revenue through the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy).
Speaking to Samson Lardy Anyenini on Newsfile, Saturday, he said the levy has been introduced due to government’s realisation of more liquidity in the telecommunications sector, hence the ‘lazy approach’ to collect revenue from Ghanaians.
According to him, the country has a systematic tax collection problem stressing that a better readjustment of the collection system will yield more revenue.
“The E-levy is the lazy man’s approach. It is no hanging fruit. It is easy money. They see a lot of liquidity in the telcos sector, and they believe that we should just reach in and take some of it.
“We are quite sure that a better readjustment of our will yield far more money, especially a focus on the extractive sector, we are quite sure that a better exemption policy will yield far more money.
“However, another thing we are sure about is that E-levy will not give us the kind of money we are looking for,” he said.
He added that “this is not about widening the tax net, it is about just collecting money”.
The private legal practitioner said the levy, if passed, would take a toll on the telecommunication sector by reducing their profits.
He further demanded a review of the country’s tax system to ensure enough revenue generation such that government would avoid lazy means of collecting taxes.
“We need to take a better look at our tax system. The problem is that the same elites who are in charge of the tax system and structures are connected to these mines and companies, so it is difficult for them to do what they need to do to improve our tax outcomes…we need to do some hard modelling in taxation instead of doing these easy cheap things which cannot last more than two years,” he stated.
Mr Kofi Bentil believes the E-levy must be abandoned entirely, and government reduces its expenditure to make up for the shortfall in revenue.
“If we are looking for money to tie us over the next year or two, there are a number of things that we can talk about right now. You have 110 ministers; you can cut it down to 50; nothing will change in this country…you absolutely can stop expensive presidential travel; there are many things that can be stopped,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nyhiaeso MP, Stephen Amoah, has called on opposers of the levy to present data to prove that Ghanaians are against the levy.
The Legislature believes the supposed resistance against the bill is not based on a critical analysis of the needs of the ordinary Ghanaian.
“The NDC, I understand them because they want to come to power. But the so-called experts should provide relevant needed pieces of information out of well-collected research data points so that we can support them,” Dr Amoah said.