….As E-Levy Can’t Save Collapsing Economy
A former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for New Juaben South, and a one-time Chair of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah, is urging the government to reconsider its decision not to go back to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the face of the country’s dwindling revenues.
He maintains that, the government’s insistence on passing the Electronic-Transaction Levy to shore up its revenue target is not right given the existential economic challenges.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration has indicated that despite Ghana’s fiscal crisis, it is not settling on returning to the IMF for financial support but will look at prioritizing domestic revenue generation through the implementation of the E-Levy.
But speaking to Citi News, Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah, said a return to the IMF as a monetary organisation should not be viewed as a failure, but rather an avenue to salvage Ghana’s receding economy.
“Without a doubt, I think we should be placing a call to Washington if we haven’t really done that. We are just not going to ask for the funds just because E-levy has been passed or not. E-levy will just bring about GH¢5 billion. We are in a deep hole of our tax revenue and facing difficulties, so going to the Fund will give us some support.”
“So there is nothing wrong with going to the Fund. Ghana is a member of the IMF so what is wrong going to ask for support when we are in difficulties to go and pool resources. If I was the finance minister, I would be convincing the President that it is about time we went back”.
Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah, also added that the revenue expected to be accrued from the E-levy is insufficient to the extent that it will not be able to ensure the economic stability the government is eyeing.
“The GH¢6.9 billion target cannot be realized. There are a lot of exemptions so, in my estimation, the maximum amount we can get from the E-levy is GH¢5 billion, and that is less than a billion dollars, so I do not think that the E-levy is going to be a panacea to our revenues. Going to the IMF will ensure some stability and above all, we are going to get some $3 billion”.
The process to pass the levy has been characterized by controversy and fisticuffs in parliament.
Despite the government’s intensified efforts in a bid to convince more Ghanaians to accept the imposition of the 1.5 percent E-Levy, a new survey suggests that 56 percent of self-confessed New Patriotic Party supporters sampled are against the unpopular policy.
Meanwhile, 86 percent of self-confessed NDC supporters are against the e-levy.
On average, 73 percent of respondents are against the e-levy, according to the survey by Global Info Analytics.
The levy has been a hot topic since it was proposed by the government in the 2022 budget.
Executive Director of Global Info Analytics, Musa Danquah, said the survey shows cross-party opposition to the e-levy.
“I wasn’t surprised, but what I was surprised by was, I was expecting it to be a bit higher than what we got,” Mr. Danquah said on the Citi Breakfast Show.
The survey in general sampled 2,422 persons of voting age in 34 constituencies across the country.
The survey, which focused on governance, corruption, and politics, also revealed 58 percent of respondents believed the government is in the wrong direction.
Fifty-three percent of respondents also revealed they were not optimistic about the future direction of the country.
Thirty-three percent felt things would get better in the next 12 months, while 14 percent were on the fence.
“Those who think that the direction is going the wrong way are the same number that think the president is not doing a good job,” Mr. Danquah noted.
He also said their findings tallied similar surveys in the past.
“If you watch the direction of the country, I think the number we have is exactly the same as was reported by Afrobarometer,” Mr. Danquah said, as an example.