A member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Cassiel Ato Forson has revealed that the government is seeking to pass the E-levy under a certificate of urgency.
The first showdown at the consideration of the controversial E-Levy proposal ended in a deadlock with a split decision from 24 lawmakers on the Finance Committee on Monday, December 20.
Twelve opposition MPs voted against a decision by the government to have the bill treated under a certificate of urgency with 12 others from the majority voting in support.
Chairman of the Finance Committee Kwaku Kwarteng had to use his casting vote to break the deadlock in favour of the government’s position.
Speaking to the media after the Committee’s sitting, Mr Ato Forson who is also a Member of Parliament for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam disclosed his side will take the fight to the plenary after failing to arrest the bill at the committee level.
“You can see clearly a government that is not ready to listen, a government that is determined to push the agenda regardless of its impact to the people of Ghana
“This morning the Finance Committee held a meeting and we have just come out from the meeting At the meeting we needed to first determine whether we can consider the electronic transfer levy bill before us on a certificate of urgency or not.
“At that point, we in the Minority argued that it cannot be considered under certificate of urgency for a simple reason that we have received a petition from the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications.
“In fact, the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications s on the 1st of December 2021 wrote a letter to the Rt Honourable Speaker, the Parliament of Ghana Accra. and to the attention of the Honourable Joseph Osei Wusu for us to first invite them and listen to them.
“And they believe that they have an alternative way of generating revenue as against what the government seeks to do and they have actually tabulated the negative impact of this levy to government We argue that it is important that government or Parliament, at the minimum, meet with them and listen to them. The NPP Majority in Parliament had said that they do not believe that.”
Parliament on Friday December 17 passed the appropriation bill but did not consider the E-levy.
The consideration of the e-levy was shifted to today Monday.
The introduction of the levy met resistance from the opposition lawmakers in Parliament.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said that his side in Parliament would not support the policy proposal because it serves as a disincentive for the growth of the digital economy.
Speaking at a post-budget workshop in Ho on Saturday, November 20, he said “Mr Speaker, understandably, we see that the Minister of Finance seeks to introduce some measures including the now popularly declared e-levy or digital levy as some have quite named it.
“Mr Speaker, our concern is whether the e-levy itself is not and will not be a disincentive to the growth of the digital economy in our country. We are convinced that the e-levy may as well even be a disincentive to investment and a disincentive to private sector development in our country. We in the minority may not and will not support the government with the introduction of that particular e-levy. We are unable to build a national consensus on that particular matter.”