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General News of Monday, 21 February 2022

Source: GNA

Minister cites Mahama's 'IMF is bitter pill' statement to justify E-Levy

Sissala West MP (right) and Ambrose Dery at the Wa Townhall meeting Sissala West MP (right) and Ambrose Dery at the Wa Townhall meeting

Two key ministers from the Upper West Region have urged Ghanaians to accept the E-levy to speed up the country’s development.

Mr Amidu Chinnia Issahaku, the Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources and Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister of the Interior, who addressed participants at a Town Hall meeting in Wa on the E-levy, asked Ghanaians not to depend on the opposition party for credible information on the electronic transaction tax.

Mr Issahaku observed that since Ghanaians were not backing down on their demands for development and salary adjustments, the government needed to find an innovative way of generating revenue to meet demands.

He said the road from Wa-Tumu-Bolgatanga needed to be worked on, saying, "As long as the people are entitled to demand for development, the government too has to devise innovative ways to find money to meet the people's demands."

"Citizens must be willing to pay more to get the needed development," he said.

Mr Issahaku, who is also the MP for Sissala East, said three new tax measures had been introduced in Europe to revive the economies of some countries there and that radical measures were needed to revive the Ghanaian economy too.

He quoted former President John Mahama, who once said IMF was like a bitter pill to administer to a patient and stressed that going to IMF for funding would freeze employment in the country.

Mahama during an event in March 2017 explained at length the difficulties with a government going to the IMF at a public function. “Our country has come a long way since then, the international financial institutions have also come a long way since then. Kenneth Kaunda said the IMF is like a mad doctor, it can only dispense one prescription, quinine.

"Those of you who know quinine, it is the bitterest medicine you will ever encounter on earth, and that’s all the IMF knew to do, give you quinine, so we had to cut down subsidies to everything, subsidies to healthcare, education, agriculture…but Ghana had to go through it, take the bitter pill and make some adjustments..” he said.

Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister of the Interior and MP for Nandom, said the world was going digital, saying, "If we don't tax that sector where will we get money to fund government projects."

He said the Upper West Region was safe due to the massive investment in security, saying, "In the past people could not walk freely at night without fear of attack or their motorbikes being snatched from them."

He claimed that the E-levy tax was targeting the rich but not the poor and that about 5,000 people were recruited into the police service, indicating that without the acceptance and approval of the E-levy many people could not be employed.

He described the E-levy as a reasonable tax, but some people had demonised it in such a way that others think wrongly that the E-levy was a bad tax

He appealed to all Ghanaians to accept the E-levy, which would help in the development of the country.

Other speakers at the forum included Ken Ofori Atta, Minister of Finance, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information and Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, all took turns to explain the importance of the E-levy to the development of the country.