The Minority in Parliament is urging the government to withdraw the E-levy Bill until after extensive engagements with stakeholders.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka stated that the Finance Committee must be given ample time to receive memoranda on the levy and consult stakeholders before its consideration.
“We are saying give time for proper consultation because it is going to affect more people. As a matter of fact, throughout this period of research, we on this side were never consulted or talked to about the E-Levy Bill,” he stated.
Mr. Muntaka added that, “at the of Finance Committee, our side of this House requested that as part of the practice of this House, we should open up for people to bring memoranda for the engagement and they said there was no time.”
He explained that Article 106 of the 1992 Constitution makes provision for committees to extensively deliberate on a bill before it is placed before the plenary.
Citing an example, Mr. Muntaka said Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee invited interested persons to present memoranda and address the Committee about their concerns.
“Now the House cannot get time to do consultation, but the Minister (of Finance) should be allowed a whole week to do and then he comes to tell us in his consultation what he has seen or heard, why are they not making time for this House and Finance Committee?” he quizzed.
Mr. Muntaka noted that wider consultations by the Finance Committee with the public and stakeholders, would help the House to make an informed decision.
“I want to urge that this House should make time for the Committee to also consult, not only the Finance Minister. They can compare whatever they are hearing from the civil society organisations and the citizenry that will help inform the decision that this house would take, he added.
But in a sharp rebuttal, Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful kicked against the move, arguing that the Minority denied the Finance Minister an opportunity to engage with them.
Meanwhile, Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has indicated that discussions on the controversial E-levy Bill, has been slated for next week.
Prior to this announcement, all 275 Members of Parliament were hoping to conclude deliberations on the Bill, when Parliament resumed on Tuesday, January 25.
But according to the Majority Leader, there’s the need for the discussions to be postponed because, the Finance Minister is deepening stakeholder conversations, in order to arrive at the best outcome for all Ghanaians.
“Rt. Hon. Speaker, as Hon. Members would recall, the House was expected to conclude consideration and passing of the Electronic Transaction Levy Bill, 2021 by the end of the Third Meeting of the First Session. Due to unforeseen circumstances, however, the House was unable to consider and pass the Bill at the end of the Meeting.
It was, therefore, within the contemplation of the Business Committee that the Bill will be scheduled for consideration by the House during the First Week of the First Meeting of the Second Session. However, upon consultation with the sponsoring Minister, the Committee is not able to programme same this first week of resumption.
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