Prior to his speech today, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia had not said a word about government’s controversial tax measure, the 1.5 percent Levy on electronic transactions. Not a single word.
The Levy, introduced in the 2022 budget read by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, has been touted as a game-changer by government functionaries as it struggled to go through Parliament. Government said it expects to raise about 6.9 billion cedis from the tax, which has now, according to Deputy Finance Minister Dr John Kumah, been revised to 4.5 billion cedis.
The first time it was tabled in Parliament, it was a free for all fight by Members of Parliament with the opposition NDC MPs bent on voting against the Levy.
Several months later, it was not clear when Parliament would consider the Bill because the NPP Majority in Parliament who were also insistent on the Bill’s passage simply did not have the numbers required to ensure its passage. This is largely due to the absence of Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo.
But I digress, this is not about the timelines of the E-levy passage. But suffice to say that the e-levy has now been passed at a revised rate of 1.5% from the originally announced 1.75%.
In his speech, THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY, Vice President Bawumia mentioned e-levy in his 129 pages long speech, or the 2-hour speech. Did he talk about the tax measure? Guess… Once. Only one time.
And no, it was not a word of support like many government officials including the President has been on since it was announced to rally support from the tax which many Ghanaians are visibly against.
On page 46 of his 149-paged speech, e-levy found expression once, as stated above only as part of government’s revenue mobilization measures.
So what exactly has accounted for the deafening silence of Dr. Bawumia on the e-levy? Touted as the economic messiah and poster boy of the party prior to winning the 2016 election and in government, it was expected that he’d have lent a word in support.
The Vice President did not speak, so is the NPP majority in Parliament wh were struggling to push through the Levy in Parliament with the Finance Minister and other government officials crisscrossing the country holding townhall meetings to rally popular support.
Could it be due to his earlier stance on taxing ‘MoMo’?
Speaking to Kwame Sefa Kayi on Peace FM in 2020, Dr. Bawumia made a strong case against any move to tax Mobile Money (MoMo), saying its implementation would adversely affect the poor and further discourage the digitisation agenda of the government.
“My view is that we should not tax mobile money because a lot of the people who are using mobile money transactions are very poor people. For example, someone just sends GH¢5 on mobile money, and why would you want to tax that?” he said.
So does Dr. Bawumia support e-levy or not? And what exactly is accounting for the loud silence? And on a day when he mentioned it, it was ONCE in a 2-hour speech, and it wasn’t in support.