Ghana’s economy doomed without e-levy – Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has said without the e-levy, Ghana’s economy is heading for “disaster”.

Speaking at a town hall meeting organised by the government on the e-levy, Mr Ofori-Atta warned: “If we don’t do this e-levy, we are just pushing ourselves in a way that would potentially end up in such a disaster”. 

“There was a warning of that because last week was a very difficult week for the country”, he said, explaining: “Last week, we got downgraded by Fitch because they do not believe we could raise the revenues that we had forecasted because we were fighting about e-levy…so, we need to moderate that because the consequences are quick”.

Also, Mr Ofori-Atta called on Ghanaians to support the passage of the e-levy to prevent the nation from going back to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance, which comes with its own unpleasant conditionalities.

He said: “When we were in the IMF programme, we couldn’t pay nurses and teachers…we couldn’t hire anymore because there were restrictions on that. I mean, it’s just really thinking you can go back to Egypt”.

“In a way, we have forgotten how difficult and tenacious that master from Washington was”.

“So, we can deal with them for them to give us advice but we need not ever get into an IMF programme [again].”

The minority in parliament and a cross-section of the population have kicked against the e-levy and called on the government to drop it.

However, these calls to drop the proposed tax have fallen on deaf ears.

The government has explained that the upsurge in the use of e-payment platforms, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been an impetus for the introduction of the levy.

As a result, Ghana recorded a total of GHS500 billion from e-transactions in 2020 compared with GHS78 billion in 2016.

The government says the e-levy proceeds will be used to support entrepreneurship, youth employment, cyber security, and digital and road infrastructure, among others.

Meanwhile, a financial analyst, Mr Joe Jackson, has said the government’s unwavering posture in having the controversial e-levy implemented is because the country is broke.

According to Mr Jackson, who is the Director of Business Operations at Dalex Finance and Leasing Company, the e-levy is a bitter pill that must be swallowed because the country’s economy is in a crisis.

“When some of us told them that the country is broke, they called us names…some even went ahead to brand some of us nation wreckers,” Mr Jackson said on Accra100.5FM’s morning show Ghana Yensom on Tuesday, January 25, 2022.

He urged Ghanaians to brace themselves for the implementation of the controversial e-levy stressing: “E-levy is a quinine tonic that must be drunk at all cost because the country is currently broke”.

Mr Jackson stated that the country has long been broke before COVID-19 hit.

In his view, the pandemic only came to blow the cover on how broke Ghana is.


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