#FixingTheCountry Movement

Fixing The Country Movement, Convener Ernest Kofi Owusu Bempah has added his voice to the ongoing brouhaha about E-Levy by Ghanaians.

According to him, the NDC (NDC) in their 2020 Manifesto, actually promised to introduce some form of Electronic Transaction which the Akufo-Addo administration is currently pursuing amid stiff resistance from the NDC.

The ‘E-Levy’ policy initiative which the NDC is hypocritically opposing was captured on Page 99 point 8.7 under Financial Inclusion and Electronic Payments (FINTECH) in their 2020 People’s Manifesto.

 Adding that the NDC’s opposition to the E-Levy is the worst piece of hypocrisy we’ve ever heard.

He said, due to the impact of Covid 19 on the world economy, smart governments are finding solace in homegrown tax policies in order to avert the economy which Ghana is no exception.

 He, therefore, called on Ghanaians to rally around the flag of Ghana, irrespective of the political party, and help build a better society.

Below is the full press release:

For Immediate release 

Fixing The Country Movement on the hypocrisy and double standard of the NDC on the matter of the E-Levy

The Fixing The Country Movement has keenly followed the brouhaha that has characterized the debate with regards to the E-Levy bill before parliament. 

As you may all be aware, the Akufo-Addo-led NPP administration through Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, presented the 2022 Budget Statement on November 17, last year, and since then, the NDC through their MPs and the party in general have caused chaos at every turn towards the approval of the portions of the government’s economic policy.

The Finance Minister in his budget presentation said, “Electronic transactions covering mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments and inward remittances will be charged at an applicable rate of 1.75% which shall be borne by the sender except for inward remittances, which will be borne by the recipient.

Per the arrangement, a sender, and not the receiver, would bear the cost of the 1.75 per cent charge on e-transactions that are above GH¢100.

But the NDC MPs on two occasions instigated nasty scenes on the floor of parliament to derail the passage of the bill.

Indeed, the NDC has been going around the country instigating the public to reject the E-Levy. 

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This issue has dominated public discourse so much so that it is beginning to take a toll on all right-thinking Ghanaians.

Shockingly, the NDC (NDC) in their 2020 Manifesto, actually promised to introduce some form of Electronic Transaction which the Akufo-Addo administration is currently pursuing amid stiff resistance from the NDC.

The ‘E-Levy’ policy initiative which the NDC is hypocritically opposing 

was captured on Page 99 point 8.7 under Financial Inclusion and Electronic Payments (FINTECH) in their 2020 People’s Manifesto.

It is quite shocking to note that, the NDC had proposed among other things that the next NDC government “will introduce a uniform transaction fee policy to guide the electronic payments industry.”

They also said the next NDC government will “work with merchants to encourage their clients to pay for goods and services electronically.”

As a matter of fact, they promised to “promote digital finance to drive financial inclusion, and financial development,” as well as “work with the various stakeholders in the financial and technology sectors to collaborate and design a resilient financial system through partnerships.”

The NDC also promised to “migrate and enforce all Person-to-Government (P2G) payments into the electronic payment ecosystem, and this will start with migrating all major revenue-generating ventures of Government into e-Payment platforms such as was envisaged under the e-Ghana Project and will be applicable in all sectors – financial and non-financial,” and also “allow each institution to develop its own portal system where Government services by that institution will be conducted and payment made online. For a start, notable Government institutions such as the Passport Office, DVLA, Metropolitan Assemblies, Police Departments, Birth and Death Registry will be migrated.”

They said they will “enact a strict policy on cash-based bank transactions in order to regularise the volume of cash transactions that can be made at banks’ branches and via the ATMs,” and “ensure a strong protection regime by building strong safety measures for victims of fraud in the IT ecosystem.”

The NDC proposal also includes the quest to ensure “a higher level of financial inclusion which will not only benefit the poor, create jobs and reduce inequality but will also grow the formal financial sector,” and even said at the time that “currently, Ghana’s percentage of financial inclusion is estimated at 58 per cent (as at end-2017) and expected to increase to 75 per cent by 2023.”

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The question, therefore, is, why the NDC’s sudden U-turn and the stiff opposition? Is it because they are not the ones pioneering the policy? 

The NDC and its media collaborators are the biggest hypocrites when it comes to helping those most in need and raising the living standards of the poorest in our society. We’d like to pose the question of what has the NDC done for the people they say the government are letting down?

The NDC has been in government before, do you remember VAT on financial services? Theirs was 17.5% and there was no pandemic and all other expenditures this government has made. The difference between 17.5% then and 1.75% now is all in a bid to allow for developmental efforts. If youth unemployment is not tackled, Ghana faces a national security threat, which is why we need to put politics aside and make constructive inputs in the bill. The entrenched position of the NDC is borne out of their political interest and not the interest of Ghanaians.

Again, we are talking about the NDC that mismanaged the economy between 2012 to 2016 to a point where it had to rely desperately on raising taxes to generate revenue. 

Even cutlasses and condoms were taxed by Mahama.

Quite incredibly, the NPP government under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo has abolished fifteen taxes and levies that Mahama imposed on the Ghanaians people.

These taxes were abolished despite revenue challenges but was done to reduce the burden of taxes on businesses and individuals, and this is unprecedented in the history of economic management in Ghana. It has never happened in the history of Ghana. The 15 taxes reduced include the 17.5% VAT/NHIL on real estates, 17.5% VAT/NHIL on selected imported medicines that are not produced locally, the 17.5% VAT/NHIL on financial services, import duty on the importation of spare parts, the 1% special import levy, the 17.5% VAT on domestic airline tickets, levies imposed on kayayei by local authorities, import duty for all goods excluding vehicles 50% and vehicles by 30%, and excise duty on petroleum.

So, we ask, how can hypocritical NDC preach for a just society when it is plagued by double-speak, selective amnesia and politics of attrition? 

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Clearly, Mahatma Gandhi’s words that; “Don’t trip over your own words and fall into hypocrisy” has consumed the NDC.  

All NDC’s talk about only wanting a fair and equal society makes you want to join hands and build a better society but then the NDC itself is a party of hypocrisy.    

The NDC’s opposition to the E-Levy is the worst piece of hypocrisy we’ve ever heard. If they are so opposed to this, why then did they bring it in their 2020 Manifesto? 

Why do they not wish to help the hundreds of thousands in the poorest suburbs of Ghana? They certainly didn’t build more social impact projects when in government, so from that we take it they don’t care and just rather want to use the issue as a political football. Let’s be clear as well.

The pandemic-related economic recession is slowly ravaging the world economy. From Asia to the Far East, all the way to Europe and the Americas, there’s a frightening economic downturn with consumers feeling the effects as inflation reaches a 30-year high and a record price for gas, groceries, utilities, etc, in the US for instance. 

In the UK, there’s rising inflation, energy bills going up by 50%, mortgages going up with today’s Bank of England rate hike, Council Tax going up, national health levy going up as a result of the pandemic. The European Union just last Wednesday proposed three new EU-wide taxes to help to repay the joint government borrowing in the 27-nation bloc for their 800 billion euro ($904 billion) COVID-19 recovery fund.

According to the October 2021 World Economic Outlook prepared by the International Monetary 

Fund (IMF), global economic growth fell to an annualized rate of around -3.2% in 2020, with a 

recovery of 5.9% projected for 2021 and 4.9% for 2022. 

As it is, smart governments the world over are finding solace in homegrown tax policies in order to avert economic disaster. Ghana is no exception and we must all rally around the flag of Ghana, irrespective of our political differences and help build a better society. 

Thank you all. 

Signed;

Ernest Kofi Owusu Bempah 

Convener – Fixing The Country Movement!!

AMA GHANA is not responsible for the reportage or opinions of contributors published on the website.

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