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Opinions of Monday, 6 December 2021

Columnist: Yao Amekor

A big no to this E-levy monster

Ghanaians have criticized the move by government to introduce an e-levy Ghanaians have criticized the move by government to introduce an e-levy

I have never had to debate anyone on the merits or demerits of imposing a tax on capital; it's rare and this is the first I have heard about.

To be brutally frank though, this e-levy proposal would dampen the morale of economic actors, slow down productivity, and inevitably destroy the country. May I suggest the following to our MPs who are in the Frontline of the budget or e-levy discourse:

1. NDC must not accept any preposterous initiative shrouded in the cloak of a tax or a levy. I see the e-levy as a tax on capital (Not capital gains or profit) and that is preposterous. I see it also a tax that puts the final nail in the coffin of the poor, working-class, and ordinary Ghanaian given the dire economic times we find ourselves.

2. NDC must not accept any program that would encourage Ghanaians from withdrawing their participation in the financial markets as currently is. E-levy would put folks off in patronizing most of our financial institutions be they banks or fintech platforms like MTN Mobile Money, Vodafone Cash, World Remit, etc. It would force Ghanaians to explore other means of moving money and for that matter, the gains made in advancing a cashless system or more agile financial market would vanish overnight.

3. NDC must not accept any tax program that compounds the misery of the common man or poor in this country. Tell you what, specific tax on profit or capital gains affects the rich in any society, but this e-levy monster just drowns everyone and everything. Adjusting the income tax schedule so that those who earn more gets taxed more would help the government's revenue ambitions while insulating or handing a safety net for the poor who a Social Democratic party represents. The NDC must protest its outrage at attempts to hemorrhage even further the poor and common Ghanaian out of what he/she does not have.

4. The NDC must resist any or all hikes on government services. I mean how on earth do you ask the teacher to pay more on all government services at time inflation has eroded his salary by over 10%+ while you are giving him 4%?

5. The NDC must not oppose proposals that seek to increase the corporate income tax rate. The NPP must explore increasing corporate tax on Net Income if they truly have bankrupted the country and now accept they have very little in terms of options. They can explore tinkering with all types of recognizable capital gains taxes in the country.

6. The NDC must reframe how it thinks about its response to the current tax/levy proposals from this NPP government. Resisting these proposals would be saving the economy. There is no savings or respite to any NDC voter when the government is allowed to fleece them of more while having escalated its wasteful and irresponsible spending.

6. The Nana Addo/NPP regime must be forced to downsize their huge and lousy government to generate some cost savings. There is no need for them to wait on the IMF or World Bank to come to prescribe these policies. Once you run your home to the ground, you must roll up your sleeves and face up to the consequences I think.

I mean we don't need 16 regions and the bureaucracy it imposes; 10 is ok and would save you on the payroll you need for the rest 6. I think we can do with a maximum of 40 ministers. Even parliament should be reduced to 250. I mean we need to cut down on the size of the government. Plus, how much are they proposing to spend at the Presidency?

As a Center-Left or Social Democratic party, the NDC must stand at all times by the ordinary Ghanaian including workers (working class) and the most vulnerable.

This e-levy monster would decimate the livelihoods of workers and exacerbate an already tottering economy. When it comes to tax policies, the NDC must defend its turf as outlined albeit not exhaustively above.