The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has said that discussions are ongoing with telecommunication companies over the proposed electronic levy.

He made this known on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.

“We have considered the issues of the 1.75% e-levy in which we are in discussions with the telcos and to scale back to moderate their impact so that in the end, the impact on the citizenry will be manageable,” Ken Ofori-Atta said.

He reiterated that the levy is being proposed to help the government to address the country’s debt sustainability issues, ensure infrastructure development and provide employment.

“We have 11million people who are youth and we have in this budget, introduced the largest ever youth programme of GHC10 billion to ensure that the entrepreneurial nation that we seek will be achieved and the issues of indecency of jobs and dignity of our youth working will be things of the part,” he told the House.

The Finance Minister’s statement was in response to some concerns raised by the Minority caucus over the levy.

The Minority in a statement, asked the government to “suspend the e-levy and properly engage stakeholders to agree on a reasonable policy.

“The policy is not retrogressive, not pro-poor, and does not support the much-touted digitalisation agenda and cash-lite economy that we all yearn for,” the Minority said.

Several other calls have been made on the government to suspend the e-levy, or at least reduce the rate.

Former Finance Minister, Kwabena Duffuor, has described the pegged rate as “immoderate”

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Tuesday, Mr. Duffuor said that a reduction in the rate will be prudent since it is the first time such a levy is being implemented.

“1.75% for the E-levy is a bit high. It should come down a bit. This is the first time we are doing it, so we should start gradually to see how people will receive it. In all taxation, the question should be ‘What I am taking, how will the payer respond to it and next year, will he be able to pay a bigger one for me?’” he said.

The Danquah Institute (DI) has also called for broader stakeholder consultations on the e-levy to pave the way for its approval by the public.

“We recommend that the government hold broad-based consultations with the myriad of stakeholders to make the levy acceptable to the populace,” Executive Director of the Institute, Dr Tsiboe-Darko said at a press conference.

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