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10 NPP MPs opposed to e-levy; Parliament must consider secret voting on bill – ASEPA boss

Mensah Thompson Executive Director for ASEPA, Mensah Thompson

Sun, 23 Jan 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

MPs fight over E-levy bill

Government to relay E-levy bill before parliament

Parliament reconvenes January 25, 2022


Executive Director for Alliance for Social Equity and Accountability (ASEPA), Mensah Thompson, has disclosed that contrary to widely held public opinion that all New Patriotic Party MPs are in support of the controversial E-levy bill, he has it on authority that ten of them are opposed to it.

He stated that the said MPs are unable to make their respective position known publicly on the bill over fears of being victimized.

Mensah Thompson added that their fears were being compounded as a result of a lack of secret voting on the controversial subject in Parliament.

To this end, he said ASEPA will petition parliament to consider secret balloting when the Bill is debated upon.

“I know about 10 Members of Parliament from the NPP side who are totally against the E-levy. If you know Members of Parliament, you will know that they are the most ardent users of mobile money. They sit in Accra and their constituencies are far away…some as afar as the Northern region [and other regions] and they have personnel that run their offices.

“Every day they are to send money to these people in the constituencies. The money is used to pay school fees, it is the money to pay hospital bills…to make funeral donations etc. So every member of the house will make about four, five transactions,” Mensah Thompson said in an interview with Uniq FM on December 22, 2021.

“So they are the primary users of mobile money and they are going to be hugely affected by this E-levy but because of the whip system on this E-levy, it is difficult especially with the [vote of] division for any of the members. For fear of being isolated and victimized, they will all fall in line. But I can assure you that one of the petitions we are going to submit to the house after its resumption is to make room for secret voting and when that happens know that at least there are 10 MPs on the other side who will vote against the e-levy,” he added

It will be recalled that Parliamentary sitting on Monday, December 20, 2021, was a sight to behold as Parliamentarians threw punches at each other. This followed a disagreement on whether to allow first Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu (Joe Wise) to participate in the voting process whiles presiding as Speaker.

Earlier before the parliamentary sitting was suspended for Joe Wise to take the chair, Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Asiamah had ruled on a voice vote in favor of the Majority to have the e-levy bill considered under a certificate of urgency.

Registering his displeasure with the ruling, Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak called for a vote of division where all non-MPs vacate the lobby whiles MPs proceed with the voting process.

Andrew Asiamah suspended parliamentary sitting for an hour only for the house to resume with Joe Wise in the chair.

After hearing what had transpired, he agreed to the minority’s request for a vote of division but announced that he will participate in the voting process.

The voting began with each MP on the majority side name being mentioned and counted but chaos broke out on the floor of parliament when Joe Osei-Owusu attempted to give way to Andrew Asiamah to take over proceedings to enable him cast his ballot.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta speaking at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 disclosed that the bill will be resubmitted before the legislative arm of government for its approval.

He expressed his optimism in the bill getting the needed support to push through after extensive consultations.

“After extensive consultations, the e-levy will be re-submitted to Parliament this month. We look forward to joining hands with our Honourable Members of Parliament to approve the e-levy on a consensus basis, so we can collectively address the big issue of unemployment,” he said.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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