Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has partly blamed the late passage of the electronic transaction levy (E-levy) for the prevailing economic challenges.
According to him, the delay in passing the tax policy impacted the confidence of the international community in the economy which led to loss of investors.
Appearing before the Parliament’s Adhoc Committee on Friday, Mr Ofori-Atta said the delayed passage of the e-levy also contributed to the ensuing downgrade in Ghana’s sovereign credit rating in January 2022, “which resulted in Ghana not being able to issue its Eurobonds it traditionally does in the first quarter.”
Mr Ofori-Atta said the Minority frustrated the efforts to raise revenue through the levy to support the financial stability of the economy.
“We saw the dire consequences when the House for months refused to pass the major revenue generation item introduced by this government to support the fiscal stability of the economy.
“Sadly the Minority Leader when this government was compelled to approach the Fund (IMF) this year, triumphantly took credit for frustrating governments efforts to meet its half-year revenue,” he said.
Ghana’s economy is currently under pressure, which has resulted in a high cost of living and what some have described as ‘galloping inflation.’
The country’s currency is also volatile in relation to the US dollar and other major trading currencies worldwide.
But the Finance Minister said the e-levy was borne “out of this heightened need to mobilise resources sufficient for managing the preeminent challenges of our time, physical consolidation, debt sustainability and reduce the unemployment.”
It would be recalled that the passage of the e-levy which requires 1.5% on all electronic transfers met stiff opposition from the Minority Group in Parliament.
It was however rolled out by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on May 1, after the E-levy Bill was passed by Parliament and subsequently assented to by President Akufo-Addo.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister has apologised to Ghanaians for the hardship being suffered in recent times.
According to him, the brunt borne by the populace due to the ongoing economic turmoil is unfortunate.
“Let me use this opportunity to say to the Ghanaian people what I believe, with courage, every Finance Minister around the world may wish to say to their people now. I am truly sorry,” he told the committee.