Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has stated that government will continue to engage on the the proposal to introduce a levy on electronic transactions.
He said the absence of the levy on the order paper for Tuesday’s siting is part of the reasons to allow for further consultations on the controversial bill before it will be submitted to be passed or rejected.
On whether the rate of 1.75% would be reduced, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said: “Is the Executive coming midway through the process to withdraw and amend [the 1.75% E-levy]? I’m not sure that’s what we have been informed [that] the Executive seeks to do. I have said over and over again that the Executive’s Bill, as was brought to and approved by Committee, is now before the House for consideration.
“The intention is to engage and explain why the state needs to raise that money. It’s not the government that wants the money; the state needs those resources to be able to deliver on the very things that we are all asking the state to do,” he told JoyNews’ Kwesi Parker Wilson on Tuesday, January 25.
The Ofoase-Ayirebi Member of Parliament noted that “the E-levy has already been approved by the Committee of Finance, and the report has been sent to the plenary.”
“As the Finance Minister mentioned, the expectation is that as plenary sittings resume from today, it will be up for consideration. It is not for any reason or a decision to back down on it or throw it away.
“The e-levy has been factored into all of the estimates that have already been approved and the appropriations that have been approved; what remains now is for us to consider the revenue bill associated with it properly. My understanding is that the Business Committee will determine when to programme it for consideration by the plenary,” he said.
He rejected claims that the government failed to adequately engage the Minority group on the E-levy bill during the recess.
According to him, it is only mischievous for people to say that there have not been any consultations on the levy, adding that “the facts don’t support that particular position.”
“The point is that some people are of the view that no matter what you say, they are opposed to an effort by the government to raise more revenue through this particular channel to satisfy the very obligations that all of us are saying the government should satisfy.
“Anybody who creates the impression that there have not been any engagements on E-levy is just refusing to look at the facts. You will recall that right from the very beginning in Ho; the Minority advertised that they will not be convinced by anything on E-levy.
“We came to Parliament from Ho and had series of engagements; we still had an opportunity to engage during which engagement the Minority Leader now announced that after he had been engaged, he thought that 1% was appropriate,” he added.