The government’s recently introduced E-levy in the 2022 budget is meant, among other things, to turn around the “dumsor” economy inherited by the Akufo-Addo government from the Mahama administration, Deputy Finance Minister John Kumah has said.
“The E-Levy is expected to formalise transactions that take place in the ‘shadow economy’ where there is not much visibility”, he told journalists at a press conference on Friday, 19 November 2021, adding: “It will also help accelerate the turnaround of the ‘dumsor’ economy we inherited in 2017”.
“This singular action is expected to bring in an estimated amount of GH¢ 6,96 billion in 2022, GH¢7.89 billion in 2023, GH¢8.92 billion in 2024 and GH¢10.09 billion in 2025”, Mr Kumah said.
The E-levy takes effect from February 2022.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta 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.
He said: “It is becoming clear there exists an enormous potential to increase tax revenues by bringing into the tax bracket, transactions that could be best defined as being undertaken in the informal economy.”
He noted, therefore, that the government is charging an applicable rate of 1.75% on all electronic transactions covering mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments and inward remittances, which shall be borne by the sender except inward remittances, which will be borne by the recipient.
“Mr Speaker, to safeguard efforts being made to enhance financial inclusion and protect the vulnerable, all transactions that add up to GHS100 or less per day, which is approximately GHS3,000 per month, will be exempt from this levy,” he stated.
He said E-Levy proceeds will be used to support entrepreneurship, youth employment, cyber security, and digital and road infrastructure, among others.
“Mr Speaker, this new policy also comes into effect once appropriation is passed from 1st January 2022. The government will work with all industry partners to ensure that their systems and payment platforms are configured to implement the policy,” he said.
The NPP believes the levy is a better alternative.
Read the full press statement of the NPP below:
November 19, 2021
NPP PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY HON JOHN AMPONTUAH KUMAH, DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER, AT THE PARTY HEADQUARTERS
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen of Press
Today’s press briefing shall focus on the 2022 budget statement which was excellently presented to Parliament on behalf of H.E the President by the finance minister on Thursday, 18th November 2021. In particular, we are going to touch on the Electronic Transaction Levy, the removal of road tolls and related matters.
ELECTRONIC TRANSACTION LEVY (E-LEVY)
Government, in its quest to provide and expand road infrastructure, support entrepreneurship drive, provide lasting solutions to youth unemployment, combat cyber security threats, expand digital infrastructure, among others, is introducing the “Electronic Transaction Levy” of 1.75% effective February 2022.
As you may be aware, the domestic tax mobilisation efforts of Ghana is far below our peers. Indeed, according to the World Bank, tax revenue to GDP in Ghana for 2019 was 12.2% which is below the Sub-Sahara Africa average of 16.5%. For South Africa, tax revenue to GDP is 26.7%, and Senegal is 16.4%. Certainly, the situation with tax mobilisation in Ghana requires urgent attention. At the same time, there is a gaping infrastructure need across the various facets of the economy. The huge mismatch between revenue efforts and infrastructure needs clearly is not sustainable if we are to accelerate the economic transformation of our country within the shortest possible time.
Fortunately, the potential to improve tax revenue efforts and tax administration abounds in Ghana. Government is, therefore, determined to take the needed steps to steadily improve domestic resource mobilisation without compromising its pro-poor interventions. The revenue to accrue from this levy will help the government “Building Forward Better” agenda in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.
In this regard, the E-Levy is expected to formalise transactions that take place in the “shadow economy” where there is not much visibility. It will also help accelerate the turnaround of the “dumsor” economy we inherited in 2017. This singular action is expected to bring in an estimated amount of GH¢ 6,96 billion in 2022, GH¢7.89 billion in 2023, GH¢8.92 billion in 2024 and GH¢10.09 billion in 2025.
The E-LEVY will be implemented as a transaction fee for digital transactions done from a Mobile Money or Bank Account anytime you transfer money to someone or make a payment to a merchant/service provider. The E-LEVY will be paid by the sender of the transfer/payment. The levy will be assessed on the following types of transactions:
• Mobile Money Transfers: sending money from your wallet to another person using mobile money;
• Mobile Money Merchant Payments: when you pay for a service or a product from a merchant using your mobile money account;
• Merchant Payments Using POS or QR: transactions at merchant locations that are done using a POS, QR or alternative payment channel will be charged the levy; and • E-Commerce/Online Payments: the E-LEVY will be charged to the customer for payments for goods and or services.
However, not all transactions will be impacted by the levy. The government has exempted the following types of transactions from the levy.
• Bank transfers and cheques – bank transfers and cheques will be exempt from the E-levy
• Daily Free Limit – every user will be able to send up to GHS100 / day without being levied (approximately GH¢3,000 per month). • Transfers between your own accounts – if you are moving money between your own accounts (i.e., of the same User) then you will not be charged the levy.
ii. REMOVAL OF ROAD TOLLS
One major outcome of the 2022 budget is the removal of tolls from some public roads. As you may be aware, the rationale for the introduction of tolls on some selected public roads was to help mobilise resources for road construction and maintenance.
However, the policy has suffered significant bottlenecks. It includes the heavy traffic created on tolled roads with attendant lengthening of travel time. We are also seeing the negative effects of the long stay in traffic on productivity. Air pollution from vehicles around tolling points cannot also be overlooked. Clearly, the negative impact of the tolling points far outweighs the benefits government is currently deriving from them. To this end, this government, being a listening one, has decided to scrap tolling on all public roads and bridges. This move, we believe, will reduce the challenges commuters face on tolled roads and bridges.
Also, all toll collection personnel will be resigned so “No One” will lose their job, contrary to what is being circulated.
This Policy will undoubtedly help reduce congestion at sections of tolled roads, allow free flow of vehicles, reduce travel time and the pollution caused by emissions from vehicles in and around the tolling points.
The expected impact on productivity and reduction in environmental pollution will certainly be much more than the revenue that will be forgone on account of removing the tolls. This is what leadership entails.
Thank you for the audience