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Politics of Friday, 25 February 2022


‘E-levy totally unnecessary, completely needless’ – Mogtari

Special Aide to former President John Dramani Mahama, Joyce Bawah Mogtari Special Aide to former President John Dramani Mahama, Joyce Bawah Mogtari

There is no need for the e-levy which the government earnestly wants to be approved by parliament, Mrs. Joyce Bawah Mogtari, Special Aide to former President John Dramani Mahama has said.

The initially proposed 1.75 per cent levy is meant to affect some electronic transactions.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Minority Caucus as well as some civil society organisations have expressed intense opposition to the tax.

The government, however, insists it is necessary for the country’s fiscal health.

The current hang parliament has also made it difficult for the government to railroad the bill.

Speaking on the subject, Mrs Mogtari told CTV’s Dwabre Mu host Hajia Bintu Saana in an interview on Friday, 25 February 2022: “My take on e-levy is that it is totally unfounded, it is totally unnecessary, it is completely needless”.

She said: “When Nana Akufo-Addo became president, he explained that first, he was coming to protect the public purse. He said borrowing was a lazy man’s business. His vice-president said there was money in this country; he’s been at the Bank of Ghana and he knows that Ghana has enormous wealth and that the exchange rate will expose you if the fundamentals were weak”.

According to her, “The only reason that they were doing that was that we had taken that undue step of going to the IMF for policy credibility”.

“But, my sister, you know that all the IMF gave us was two tranches which totalled $2 million $900-and-something at the beginning and the next $900-and-something arrived when we had left office”, she recalled.

Additionally, Mrs Mogtari denied claims that employment in the government sector was frozen as a result of going to the IMF in the Mahama era.

“That story they even told to malign us that we had actually stopped intakes into civil and public service, how can that possibly be true?”

“The civil and public services have always been a training ground”, she noted, adding: “Did you hear about any rationalisation? You would have heard about the uproar?”

“Today”, she contrasted, “have you seen the office of government machinery’s budget? What they received this year and the addition, the extra which totals about GHS500 million”.

While in opposition, she noted, Nana Akufo-Addo travelled business class as a presidential candidate but now flies on chartered private jets for his international trips.

“Now, the president’s private travels and lavish accommodations alone, during his last trip to some European countries, cost about GHS4.9 million, the former deputy minister of transport told Hajia Bintu Saana.

“How many NABCo graduates can’t that money pay?” she wondered.

North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa recently computed that the Ghanaian taxpayer would shoulder a staggering US$776,000 or the cedi equivalent of GHS4,979,328.16 for the president’s 10-day working visit to France, Guyana, Belgium, Germany and the UK for opting to travel on a chartered private jet instead of Ghana’s presidential jet.

According to him, the cost was much higher than the GHS4.6 million the government has been unable to release to the Student Loan Trust (SLT) since last year, which has made it impossible for the SLT to cater for the needs of thousands of tertiary students for more than a year.

“What should further embarrass all well-meaning Ghanaians is the fact that our real-time tracking reveals that none of the African presidents joining President Akufo-Addo for these meetings is engaged in such unconscionable hedonistic misconduct. They are all making good use of their national presidential jets,” Mr Ablakwa said in a Facebook post.

The President left for Accra on Thursday, 10 February 2022 and returned on Sunday, 20 February 2022.

In Bawah Mogtari’s view, such trips were unnecessary.

“At least, if I don’t know anything, I know about international law and how it works. If, for example, the UK has voted that this amount will come to Ghana, whether you travel there or not, the money will come”, she told Hajia Bintu Saana on the Accra-based station.

Comparing the Ghanaian leader’s foreign trips with those of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Mrs Bawah Mogtari said the latter is “a man of enormous wealth” and “can own any jet under the sun but we’ve seen photos of him travelling commercial”.

“In any case”, she noted, “what do presidents do?”

“President Kufuor used to travel first class; President Mahama, the same; President Mills, the same”, she observed.

In fact, she recalled, “At the time when Nana Addo was Candidate Nana Addo, there were many times when we were travelling, as part of the presidential entourage, [and] we would meet him on the flight. Even then, he was travelling business. So, what are we talking about?”