The Graduates Students’ Association of Ghana (GRASAG), has dissociated itself from the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) on its position on the controversial e-levy proposed in the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.
The Finance Minister in reading the budget on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, announced the introduction of a 1.75% tax on all electronic transactions.
The Finance Minister also indicated that there would be a 15% increase in government services.
“Electronic transactions covering, mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances will be charged at an applicable rate of 1.75 percent, which shall be borne by the sender, except inward remittances which will be borne by the recipient,” Ken Ofori-Atta announced.
NUGS at a press conference on Thursday, November 25, 2021, backed these policies despite the public backlash.
NUGS is of the view that the e-levy is a “step in the right direction,” and will help the government generate revenue to tackle youth unemployment in the country.
However, GRASAG has rejected the position taken by NUGS.
According to GRASAG, the position does not reflect the sentiment of the whole student populace.
It among other things said the levy if passed will have a negative impact on online businesses and make them uncompetitive.
“The avoidance of electronic transactions will have a negative effect on online businesses mostly owned by the youth who rely on electronic payment methods.”
“This levy will make their products uncompetitive as they become more expensive in the eyes of the public, who will have to beat the additional 1.75% levy,” GRASAG said in a press statement issued on Thursday.
It was claimed the press release by NUGS was “signed without the consent of the President nor any of the persons constitutionally mandated to carry out such duties on behalf of the President of the Association nor that of the National Executive Committee of GRASAG-National.”
“The President, therefore, dissociates herself from this press release in no uncertain terms.”
Meanwhile, Parliament will later today, Friday, November 26, 2021, conclude the debate on the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.
Ahead of that, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said Ghanaians will embrace the E-Levy and other taxes introduced in the 2022 budget when they get a full understanding of these policies.
The party, however, says government will avail itself for accountability from taxpayers on the usage of revenues generated from the E-Levy.
The Communications Director of the NPP, Yaw Buaben Asamoah, in a Citi News interview, asked Ghanaians to support the passage of the levy and demand accountability for the same.
“I will be the first to admit that governments after governments records on delivery of public services, public goods have not always been the best in terms of the expectations of the people, but sometimes it is also because of the short funding mechanism that is why you have so many government assets abandoned across the country.”