Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister’s modifications of the controversial 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of government has been laid in Parliament on Tuesday.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, at a press conference, announced that he had submitted a letter to the Speaker of Parliament on modifications made to the financial statement.

Among other things, the government reviewed the Aker Energy transaction, Agyapa deal and an allocation of ¢10 million for Feasibility and Engineering studies for the coastal communities, including Keta and its environs that were recently affected by tidal waves.

On the E-levy, Mr Ofori-Atta indicated that the proposed charges remain at 1.75%, although the Minority and other stakeholders are still being consulted.

First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, received the document and requested the Clerk of Parliament to lay it for the Parliament’s consideration.

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu objected to the Clerk laying the document.

According to him, the Finance Minister or his deputies are the ones to present the document to Parliament – a sign of ownership rather than having an officer of the House.

But Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin disagreed. He believes that once the document has been certified and signed by the Finance Minister, the statement should be received as a working document.

In his preliminary comments on the budget modifications, the Minority Leader acknowledged some engagements with the government.

He said, “We on this side [Minority in Parliament] are unable to support the government in its quest to impose an E-levy at 1.75% on Momo and associated transactions including remittances and bank transactions. Therefore we stand opposed, and at every level that E-levy is being introduced, we will stand united to oppose it because it will inflict hardships on the core poor of the Ghanaian people.”

Mr Afenyo-Markin, on the other hand, said the Finance Minister must be commended for accommodating the proposals of the Minority in its modifications to the 2022 Budget.

He also assured the Minority that the Finance Minister has not closed doors on their concerns regarding the E-levy and that the Finance Minister will continue to engage them in finding a middle ground on the charges.