A former Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Fiifi Kwetey has accused the government of insensitivity following the introduction of some taxes in the budget statement for the 2022 fiscal year.
According to Mr Kwetey, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised to move the country from taxation to production.
However, he said, after winning political power, they have reneged on that promise to introduce what he calls humongous taxes on Ghanaians.
His comments come at a time the government has introduced tax on mobile money transaction in the budget statement for the 2022 fiscal year.
The Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced a new levy to be charged by government in 2022 on all electronic transactions to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector.
“It is becoming clear there exists enormous potential to increase tax revenues by bringing into the tax bracket, transactions that could be best defined as being undertaken in the ‘informal economy’,” Mr Ofori-Atta observed on Wednesday, November 17 as he presented the 2022 budget statement in Parliament.
“After considerable deliberations, government has decided to place a levy on all electronic transactions to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector. This shall be known as the ‘Electronic Transaction Levy or E-Levy’.”
He explained that the new E-levy will be a 1.75 per cent charge on all electronic transactions covering mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments and inward remittances to be borne by the sender except inward remittances, which will be borne by the recipient.
This will, however, not affect transactions that add up to GH¢100 pr less per day.
“A portion of the proceeds from the E-Levy will be used to support entrepreneurship, youth employment, cyber security, digital and road infrastructure among others.”
This new levy is scheduled to start Saturday, January 1, 2022.
In 2020, total value of transactions was estimated to be over GH¢500 million with mobile money subscribers and users growing by 16 percent in 2019.
According to a Bank of Ghana report, Ghana saw an increase of over 120 percent in the value of digital transactions between February 2020 and February 2021 compared to 44 percent for the period February 2019 to February 2020 due to the convenience they offer.
This was definitely heightened by the advent of Covid-19 especially during the lockdown.
Speaking in interview with TV3 on this development, Mr Kwetey who is also former Member of Parliament for Ketu South said “You don’t have a government that runs to power on the mantra that taxation is the lazy man’s approach to governance. A government that says you are moving the country from taxation to production and then you come into office only to slap these humongous taxes on ordinary people.
“For me, it is callous, it is wickedness, it is insensitive and above all, it is hypocritical and that is the challenge that this country faces especially with Dr. Bawumia.
“As far as I am concerned he is the embodiment of deception, somebody who absolutely should not desecrate the high office of the land and if he has any consideration of running for the highest office of the land he better think twice and step aside because this country deserves better.
“You are talking about a group that spoke against taxation and for you to do what you have done is the level of immorality that this country has degenerated into.
“I can understand if they have the honour, the decency and the courage to apologize to the people of this country and tell the people that it was a mistake and they have learned but they have not had the decency and the courage to do that and as far as I am concerned this is inexcusable and unforgivable.”