E-Levy and reversal of benchmark values ‘will eventually’ happen – John Kumah

John Kumah Parliament 202022112112 John Kumah, Deputy Finance Minister

Thu, 20 Jan 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Parliament to reconvene on January 25

Govt didn't anticipate approval f E-Levy will be difficult, Minister

E-Levy Bill to be re-laid in parliament on January 25

Deputy Finance Minister, John Kumah has revealed that even though the government did not anticipate how difficult it would be for some policies including the E-levy to go through parliament, he was of high hopes these policies will eventually be approved this year.

According to him, steps are being taken to ensure that government would be able to pass the E-Levy and that of the reversal of benchmark value in the 2022 budget.

“We did not anticipate that we were going to have difficulties in Parliament the way it happened but of course even in that our response is also to ensure that you stay within your budget and so you target your expenditure levels…As far as we are concerned there will be commitment control to ensure that we don’t exceed what we collect so that we can stay even the budget…”

“We believe that we may stay the year slow like we’re seeing. If eventually the E-Levy and the benchmark values come on board which they will come…that one I can assure you that eventually, it will happen; which has caused anxiety or concern among the investor community. They think that you have an Appropriation Bill passed but the revenue that is anchored on is in limbo…so we appreciate those concerns but we’re confident that the steps being taken will ensure that eventually we are able to pass the E-Levy and are able to do the [benchmark reversals].” Asaaseradio quoted.

Speaking in an interview, he added that the reversal of the benchmark policy has nothing to do with revenue but the economic impact it has on local manufacturing and industrialisation agenda.

“The [benchmark] reversal is not so much about revenue than the economic impact where now some businesses are indicating to close from Ghana because they are being competitive from their production in our country and that is a key policy issue that as a country we have to respond to.”

“…Last year, with these benchmark values GRA met their target so if we seeking to reverse it, it’s not so much of the revenue but the economic impact and the distraction it’s causing to our local manufacturing and industrialisation agenda. That for me is of more importance than even the revenues that we are expecting to receive…” he added.

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta has insisted that Electronic Transactions Levy (E-Levy) Bill will be resubmitted before Parliament when it resumes sitting on January 25, 2022.

According to him, the tax measure contained in the 2022 budget statement, is a critical tool for rebuilding Ghana’s economy.

Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday January 19, the finance minister said, “Ladies and gentlemen the E-levy is a necessary tool to increase our tax to GDP from circa 11.13 % to 16% and above to guarantee that we pay for what we use”

The minister then advocated for the swift passage of the e-levy Bill which has been at an impasse in parliament since its announcement.

“I call on both sides of the House to look forward in joining hands to approve the e-levy on a consensus basis so that we collectively address the big issue of unemployment, debt sustainability, infrastructure and especially build our roads,” Ofori-Atta pointed.

He further underscored the need to approve the e-levy Bill in order to address the recent downgrade of Ghana credit rating from ‘B’ to ‘B-‘ by international ratings agency, Fitch.

The finance minister also said the approval of the e-levy would be key towards sustaining the country's debt situation.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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