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Opinions of Saturday, 26 February 2022

Columnist: King Ofori

Supporting government to succeed is a collective responsibility - E-Levy is an appeal

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Every citizen has a responsibility to contribute his or her quota to national development. Despite the huge inequality in our society, we must encourage everyone to see the need to contribute to national progress through any resourceful means.

Despite the political differences between the ruling NPP and NDC, it's important as citizens to come to the understanding that national development surpasses the whims and caprices of any political party. Our patriotic virtues echoed by the constitution must be translated into a commitment towards supporting any government, irrespective of colour brand, to succeed.

Government borrowing had gained political currency in the current republic and each prospective government cash on to rising to political power. Currently, the government is being accused of huge borrowing which many experts believe is not prudent for a developing economy like Ghana. The government has been urged on by experts and other civil society to cut down expenditure and maximize revenue for which the digitization agenda became very relevant.

Though corruption continues to rock successive governments and is also a major concern for our development agenda, it's important any government in power focus more on raising enough revenue through any possible means whilst cutting down expenditure. The current administration has demonstrated beyond every circumstance that it's to push for revenue mobilization and to cut down expenditure through the digitization agenda.

It will be highly unfair, if not for political reasons, to say contributing our widows' mite as citizens is an attempt by the government to rob the ordinary man of his meagre living.

The introduction and the passing of the E-levy have generated both political controversies and public outcry mainly due to fierce resistance by the opposition NDC. NDC has somewhat succeeded in pushing the masses against the government, a situation that has forced the NPP to organize town hall meetings across the country on the E-levy. The 2022 budget has suffered setbacks in parliament because of E-levy and government business is partially being derailed.

Notwithstanding, we cannot underestimate the importance of E-levy to the development of our country. Over 20 millions Ghanians use some form of digital platform in transferring and receiving money and the government’s ability to properly tax these transactions will go a long way to bridge the revenue gap and reduce government borrowing muscles.

It is therefore opportunistic to suggest that government wants to burden Ghanaians with more taxes and discourage them from using mobile money. E-levy has not been designed to target the poor or the vulnerable in society. It has been designed to be able to tax transactions in a manner that is not different from the charges of the telecos and the government will do it once on transactions above GH₵100.

As citizens, we must ask ourselves that we pay GH₵1.50 to a foreign company on GH₵150 transfer and receipts totalling GH₵3.0. These charges profit them and the monies are repatriated to develop their country. What it means is that every single transaction that one makes is charged by these telecos. This shows the skyrocketing profit they are making out of Ghanaian citizens. What then prevents the government from profiting from this huge profiteering avenue? The government has therefore tasked the telecos to reduce their charges to enable every citizen to contribute a levy to support national development.

Technically, the government needs the support of its citizens and the E-levy is a form of appeal to support government business through a common platform used by over 20million Ghanaians. Unfortunately, E-levy has suffered the backlash from a section of Ghanaians mainly because the opposition NDC has made it look as though the government is highly insensitive to its citizens.

Well, NDC as a party is a potential government in the making and their fierce resistance to revenue mobilization only point to the fact they want Ghana to return to IMF to beg for a bailout. IMF bailout has proven to be detrimental to Ghana’s development and if we want the nation to develop, it is prudent to embrace all forms of risks and swallow the bitter pill to help develop it.

We might have reservations about how revenues are used by the government and the revenue drains in our system, we cannot despise any genuine effort to develop the nation by any government.