The government of Ghana will no longer be allocating some GH¢241,933,000 in the 2022 budget for revenue assurance in the implementation of the controversial Electronic Transaction collection.
According to the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the decision to scrap the allocation made for service procurement was reached at a cabinet meeting.
“According to deep throat and unimpeachable sources, the scandalous allocation of GHS241,933,000 under the dodgy title of e-Transaction Levy Services in the 2022 Budget has been tabled for what was a heated discussion at a Cabinet Meeting President Akufo-Addo chaired a couple of days ago.
“My usually impeccable sources within Cabinet add that the offensive sweetheart deal is now off and that the sleazy allocation would no longer feature in the final Appropriation Act,” Mr Ablakwa wrote in a Facebook post.
The government of Ghana as part of its 2022 budget economic policies intends to impose a 1.75% levy on all electronic transactions. As part of the policy implementation plan, the government allotted GH¢241,933,000 to be spent on services.
But some critics including the North Tongu MP, have described the GHC241,933,000 allocated for service procurement as sleazy and fulfilling shadowy business interests.
While the government maintains that the E-levy policy is a revenue mobilization policy aimed at national development, Mr Ablakwa has said discoveries such as the amount set aside for services makes it a “grand heist by family and friends.”
In his Facebook post alleging the cabinet decision, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said the scrapping of the budgetary allocation has saved the nation a humongous amount which can be channelled towards other avenues of national development.
He is however optimistic that E-levy policy will be scrapped in its entirety.
“Thanks to our exposé and relentless united advocacy, we have saved Ghana a humongous GH¢242million.
“This colossal amount should rather be used to engage thousands of young unemployed graduates who are still languishing at home after many years.
“As we thank God for this collective victory on a holy Sunday, let’s pray for more grace and fortitude to eventually defeat the obnoxious and acutely regressive E-Levy,” he stated.
The Herald had unearthed the shadowy private company handpicked to get the colossal GH₵242 million to execute the e-Transaction Levy Services from the government for monitoring the yet to be implemented 1.75% tax.
The identity of the company, has been established as ExpressPay Ghana Limited.
Their business description and principal activity were stated as “Commission Agents (Utilities Services), IT Services”.
But even before the deal could be sealed, this paper is picking up intelligence that there is confusion brewing between the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and the Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, over which company should be given the job.
Insiders say, while the Finance Minister is almost done cooking the deal for ExpressPay Ghana Ltd, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful on the other hand, is pulling strings for the GHc242 million contract to be handed over to Haitian ICT firm, Kelni GVG.
However, insiders have hinted that Mr Ofori-Atta, is having his way and about to dish out the GH₵242 million deal to ExpressPay Ghana Ltd.
Ursula Owusu, had counted on Kelni GVG’s performance which had to deal with revenue losses and simbox fraud in the telecommunications sector and insisted they deserve the contract, Mr Ofori-Atta’s ExpressPay, however, appears not to have any track records as its performance is not known; it is difficult to trace them, because it has none.
But The Herald’s digging at the Registrar General Department, revealed ExpressPay Ghana Ltd was incorporated on July 19, 2012, some nine years ago, with the registration number: CS063012012.
The company’s address and business location, was given as GP 13192, Adebeto Close Labone, with House number F305/6, Accra.
The names of the directors are; Kodjo Hesse and Curtis Vanderpuije. Mr Curtis Vanderpuije’s name was captured as the secretary for the company, per The Herald’s checks and documents obtained from the Registrar General’s system.
This paper in its Monday, December 6 edition reported that, it is becoming clearer that there is more to the 1.75% E-Levy slapped on patrons of Mobile Money by the Akufo-Addo government than merely “widening the tax net and rope in the informal sector” to raise revenue, but a grand scheme calculatedly hatched to take money from the poor and vulnerable for the rich and affluent.
Details identified in the controversial 2022 budget and financial policy statement, has revealed that a colossal GH¢242 million, has already been set aside to pay for e-Transaction Levy Services from the expected GH₵6.9 billion mentioned in the 2022 Budget Statement by Finance Minister, Mr. Ofori-Atta.
The levy, which will come into effect on February 1, 2022, is a charge of 1.75% of the value of electronic financial transactions, covers mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances.
Aside from patrons paying network service providers various amounts as transaction charges, they are also to pay the government 1.75% as E-Levy.
Government, will further collect money from the telecommunication companies, as well as the banks by way of taxes, meaning the government is eating more from the citizens than the private companies who are eating from their customers; the citizens.
The GH¢242 million, has been captured in Appendix 4B at page 242 under the heading “summary of MDA expenditure allocation (GH¢) -2022” to go to shadowy business interests.
It was on the same list with Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, which has been allotted GH¢33 million, Ghana CARES which is getting 1 billion, YouStart which is getting GHC385 million, Agenda 111, which has been allotted GH¢518 million, GH¢1.8 billion for Pensions, GHC305 million for Gratuities.
The Akufo-Addo administration awarded a US$178 million contract to Kelni GVG, which is to block revenue losses in the telecommunication sector and simbox fraud, it is not clear whether the Haitian ICT firm will be executing the GHS242 million job.
Subah and Afriwave, were awarded similar contracts under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration to perform similar jobs, and National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) are the implementing agencies for the common platform with Kelni GVG as Service providers.
As many people, including those in the informal sector, use mobile money, the government sees it as an easy way of taxing the informal sector.
According to the Finance Minister, the total digital transactions for 2020, were projected to be over GH¢500 billion (about $81 billion) compared to GH¢78 billion ($12.5 billion) in 2016.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the NDC Member of Parliament for North Tongue Constituency, has been angered by the discovery and has taken to Facebook to express his utmost disgust about the GHc242 million of the E-Levy.
On Thursday, December 2, he wrote “It does appear our agitations against the E-Levy is going to really affect some shadowy business interests if we succeed in having it scrapped or substantially reduced.
“Appendix 4B at page 242 of the 2022 budget reveals that a colossal GHS241,933,000 has already been set aside to pay for so-called e-Transaction Levy Services.
“We shall be demanding full disclosure in Parliament on this apparent sweetheart deal.
Taxing the poor to make the rich richer. This is most unconscionable!
On Friday, December 3 the MP fired another salvo saying “the more I dig into the sleazy allocation of GHS241,933,000 in the 2022 killer budget to pay for an amorphous e-Transaction Levy Services, the more I am convinced we must all entrench our absolute and unconditional opposition to the E-Levy”.
The Bank of Ghana has adequate capacity to track all e-Transactions in Ghana. They told us E-Levy was for grand national transformation, now we know it’s for a grand heist by family and friends.