Deputy Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, Isaac Adongo, has taken a swipe at the government following the introduction of new taxes and revision of fees as announced in the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.
He makes the point that the upward adjustments and the imposition of the new levies can best be seen as a convenient way to clear Ghana’s messy economy.
Among the announcements in the 2022 budget is the 1.75 percent electronic transaction levy, at least 15 percent increment in fees and charges of government services, and the reversal of the discounts on import benchmark values.
But Isaac Adongo, who is also the MP for Bolgatanga Central, believes the culmination of these is a clear indication that the government’s campaign mantra of focusing on production other than taxation to revamp the economy has now become a complete mirage.
“When the government was borrowing, and we told them to slow down, they ignored it. Today, they are spending 113 percent of the tax collected to pay interest servicing. So they are not taxing us because they want to build roads, schools or because we are going to get drinking water. They are taxing us to pay for their mess”, he said on Eyewitness News.
He further expressed worry over the development, saying:
“They said they will move from taxation to production but quite clearly, these are con men who are still scamming us and that is what it has turned out to be. So far, we have counted about 18 taxes and new adjustments, and we are still looking at over 150 fees and charges that are going to be revised, and fees and charges reflect in the economy as taxes. This is happening under a man who said we didn’t need to borrow and that he was moving from taxation and to production.”
On the issue of the E-Levy in particular, Isaac Adongo said the move was a poorly thought-through one.
He argued that the levy which is to be slapped on transactions covering mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances is rather to cripple the operations of businesses and overburden the poor.
“E-levy for me was not well thought through at all. Yes, the government needs money, but in looking for money, you do not kill the hen that lays the golden eggs. If someone trades and decides to pay for raw materials electronically, clearly, you are taxing capital. Who taxes capital anywhere in the world? You tax income, revenues, and profits.:
“What this also means is that if the Ghana Revenue Authority assesses a company of its tax obligations, and the company wants to pay electronically, that tax the company owes the government is then taxed again 1.75 percent.”
“So technically, what they are telling the company is that, if they do not want to pay 1.75 percent of say their tax of GHS 20 million which is a lot of money, then they should go to the bank and do that transfer.”
“If you have GHS 100 and above, then you are seen to be rich? I don’t know how we will be able to get there as a country economically if we say GHS 100 is our standard because that is an amount that will not be taxed because you are taxing the poor who are already seeing Mobile Money as a social intervention by ordinary Ghanaians”, he added.