A former Defence Minister, Dr Benjamin Kunbour, has attributed the agitation over the 2022 budget to the economic hardship being endured by most of the populace.

Dr Kunbour told Accra-based Asaase Radio that government will be mistaken should it believe citizens are worried only because of the proposed electronic transaction levy (E-Levy) 1.75 per cent.

“That particular levy I can tell you is just a metaphor for a bigger issue. The bigger issue is the relative hardship in the country. So, people will always look for the weakest link as the basis or point of reference.

“But I think it’s an amalgamation of so many things within the economy that is generating this whirlwind of agitation.”

“And the ordinary people will always reduce it to ‘things are difficult’, everybody says that but they’re just picking the idea of the E-Levy which is not too novel but because of its prominence now,” he stated.

The incumbent Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, while delivering the 2022 budget on Wednesday, November 17, proposed a 1.75% levy on all electronic transactions effective January 1, 2022.

He described it as an innovative method to generate revenue after government scraped road tolls.

However, a section of Ghanaians, including the Minority in Parliament and some economists, have kicked against this proposal, arguing that it will intensify the hardships of the average Ghanaian.

Concurring to the opposers, Dr Kunbuor said the E-levy is a form of double taxation due to the Communication Service Tax (CST).

He also argued that it will impede the digitalisation agenda of government.

“The situation of paying tax on the same type of transaction twice is going to affect the policy because you can’t run two conflicting policies.

“The digitalisation policy in which you’re encouraging us to go cashless but at the same time you’re taxing the cashless activity and when you do that, both policies cannot succeed, one will have to fail,” he added.

However, Finance Minister Ken Ofori- Atta has said consultations are still ongoing to factor in the concerns of stakeholders on the implementation of the E-Levy.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.