Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei-Asare

A Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei-Asare, has 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 growth of the local economy, a development which has led to high cost of living in the country.

She says the E-Levy is a homegrown solution that can, together with other revenue measures, improve the ailing economy and restore the country’s growth gains.

Addressing her colleagues on the floor of Parliament, Tuesday, the Atiwa East MP charged the Minority Caucus to support the Bill if they love the country.

“Mr Speaker, I urge my brothers on the other side to also look at it favouribly if they really love the country and make sure we build this homegrown solution and address the challenges that we are facing as a result of both global challenges and domestic challenges as well.

“We have been to several places and had town hall meetings and all you hear them say is that what they want to see are transparency and effectiveness in the utilisation of these tax revenues. Luckily for us, we have Parliament to do the oversight responsibility for us, we have the Auditor-General and we have other support systems in the Ministry of Finance to help us in this regard,” she said.

Minority’s opposition

Contributing to debates in the Chamber, the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu accused the Majority Caucus of smuggling the consideration of the Levy into the Order Paper.

According to the Tamale South MP, E-levy was not enlisted in Parliament’s business statement for this week.

He questioned why the Majority will pull such a surprise on the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC)’s legislators.

“We have time and again warned and cautioned that we never want to be taken by surprise on a major economic policy bill of government and we will not accept that culture.

“So when you [Majority Caucus] did not have the numbers, you were hesitant, you won’t come before the House [with the Bill] now that you think that you have some reasonable numbers then you say ‘go to the business of item 27’,” he fumed.

The Tamale South lawmaker said that the NDC MPs will not submit to the questionable attitudes of the Majority to get the Bill passed.

According to him, all the 137 representatives of the NDC will oppose the controversial tax policy.

“Mr Speaker, let them [Majority Caucus] be sure that we are ready for them. We will debate through and we will vote against it and not support it,” he said.

Some NDC Parliamentarians have also raised concern about what they described as an ambush of the Majority to pass the E-levy Bill.