Government Puts Withdrawal, Relaying Of E-levy Bill On Hold; Goes For An Amendment
Leadership of the Majority in Parliament has disclosed that the government will no longer withdraw and re-lay the contested Electronic Transfer Levy (E-levy) as earlier communicated. It said the government is rather opting to amend the controversial bill. Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, was also expected in Parliament last Friday
to withdraw the Bill and also reintroduce a substituted version for the house’s consideration the next Tuesday, February 15. But that did not happen. Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, speaking on the floor, revealed that the Finance Minister has rather moved to make some revisions to the existing Bill. We announced
that there was going to be a withdrawal and relaying of the E-levy Bill, but it has become prudent to rather look at an amendment, considering fact that the committee on Finance has done quite a lot of work. But Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu who opposed the motion, said, the current turn of events is in bad taste and wants the
appropriate procedures followed. Last week, they said there will be a withdrawal of the Bill and a reintroduction of a new Bill on Friday. They seem to be talking about the amendment. Mr. Speaker, there is also something that is going on, and I think that we must express our disquiet about it. The E-levy Bill was introduced in this
house and referred to the appropriate committee. My strong view is that even in the search and elicitation of views and inputs, it doesn’t lie with the Finance Minister [to amend] the Bill], it lies with our Finance Committee. Previous efforts to also discuss the bill on the floor of Parliament have not materialized. Currently, the national
conversation has been around the government pushing through the controversial 1.75% electronic transaction levy also estimated to rake in some $1 billion dollars annually or going onto an IMF program. Some analysts have also proposed seeking an IMF bailout as a better alternative amidst public disapproval of the E-levy, but
the government has also said it will have none of that. Others have also brushed off calls for the government to go under an IMF programme and insisting that the options left for Ghana to consider are fiscal discipline, a reduction in wasteful expenditure, and the sealing of revenue leakages.