Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has dismissed reports about the passage of the controversial E-levy Bill on Tuesday, stating that the Bill has not passed.

In a post on Facebook, the legislator explained that, based on the provisions of the 1992 Constitution and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, there was no quorum in Parliament to enable the passage of the Bill into law.

In his post, the NDC lawmaker also stated that the NPP MP for Dome Kwabenya, Sarah Adwoa Safo, was not present during proceedings on Tuesday. Therefore, his colleagues in the Majority did not have the required numbers to push through with the Bill.

“You thought we will give you the pleasure of returning to court for a declaration that the Assin North MP shouldn’t have been present in the Chamber to vote so that you can claim a 137-136 victory for the E-Levy.

With our strategic walkout, you fall short of the required 138 quorum under article 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution and as affirmed by the Supreme Court in the recent Justice Abdulai case.

There can be no contention about Adwoa Safo’s absence from today’s proceedings.

Trust your NDC representatives, we have a conscience, and we know that the real power belongs to you.

Going by the Supreme Court’s decision, the E-Levy has not been passed. What transpired today is a ridiculous nullity”, he wrote.

Mr Ablakwa’s comments were in reaction to the approval of the controversial Electronic Transactions (E-Levy) Bill on Tuesday afternoon by Parliament.

This decision was reached after the Consideration Stage was completed by a Majority-sided House on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. It was considered under a certificate of urgency.

The Bill was adopted at a reduced rate of 1.5% from the initial 1.75% amid a Minority walkout. President Akufo-Addo is therefore expected to assent to the Bill.

The tax, which has become a subject of debate among Ghanaians, is expected to rake in close to ¢6 billion in tax revenue for the country.

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has already hinted that its structures have been revised and ready to ensure income mobilisation.

On Tuesday, the Finance Minister was in Parliament to push for Bill’s passage a day before President Akufo-Addo’s State of The Nation Address.

From the outset, the Minority had accused the Majority Caucus of smuggling into the Order Paper the consideration of the controversial Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy).

According to the Tamale South MP, E-levy was not enlisted in Parliament’s business statement for this week. However, he questioned why the Majority will pull such a surprise on the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) legislators.

But Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei-Asare, urged Members of Parliament to join hands in passing the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-Levy) Bill to enhance the country’s economic recovery process.

According to her, Ghanaians have already accepted the tax revenue measure and expect its passage.

This, she stated, will help address domestic challenges derailing the growth of the local economy, a development that has led to a high cost of living in the country.

But after a 30-minute break, the Minority Leader announced that his side will have nothing to do with the Bill. Nevertheless, he maintained that the outcome would bring the populace untold hardship. On that note, he led the NDC MPs to vacate the Chamber.

After this development, the House, despite the Minority’s absence, embarked on a speedy consideration and amendment of a few changes in the Bill, following which the motion was moved to accept it.

In a voice vote, the Minority sided Parliament admitted the E-Levy Bill. Speaker, Alban Bagbin adjourned the sitting to tomorrow, March 30, 2022.

“Honourable members, the Electronic Transfer Levy Bill 2021 duly read the third time and passed,” the Speaker said.