The Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, says the Minority in Parliament is frustrating government’s business due to what he says is the influence of “forces that are bigger than them.”
He said the recent partisan position taken by the National Democratic Congress (NDC)’s lawmakers have adversely affected the work of the Majority in getting certain agreements passed.
Mr Afenyo-Markin said despite the situation, government and the Majority group are engaging the Minority side to build a consensus on various policies and key decisions, including the passage of the Electronic Transactions Levy (E-levy).
“I would say that insisting on partisan position has affected our work. Our friends [in the Minority] did so well when we were doing the vetting. They were very cooperative, except that on E-levy, the forces that are bigger than them has made it virtually impossible for us to proceed.”
“The reason we have still not proceeded [with E-levy] and we are still engaging simply tells you that we believe there must be some consensus. The 1.5% reduction was not accidental, [it was after consensus]. If we don’t appreciate that we need to have consensus, we wouldn’t have engaged them,” he said in an interview with Citi TV on Monday.
The Effutu MP was hopeful the Majority will get the cooperation of the Minority in approving key measures geared towards reviving the economy.
According to him, “we have been engaging and the engagements appear positive, and I believe that if the way we are going we are able to proceed on that path, we will be able to go through with this.”
Meanwhile, a former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, has stated that the E-levy is a distortion of the country’s tax structure and would not achieve government’s target.
He says the projections of proceeds from the Levy have been exaggerated by the government, thus impossible to address the economic challenges.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Upfront on Thursday, March 17, he said “E-levy taxes savings which is my basic and fundamental opposition to it. It tells you how dire the situation is for us. Ghana, wanting to tax savings, no, it is never done.”
“I urge you to look at the appendix to the budget. The projections for the E-levy are there for the next four years…is that what is going to resolve the fact that we have to borrow to pay our debt and then even the interest on that debt?
“If you pay and after paying compensation is not enough, is that the solution to it? If you look at our re-financing is it a question of ¢7 billion? … I beg to differ,” he said.
An Economist and Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Prof Stephen Adei, has suggested that the country’s expenditure be reduced to address the raging economic challenges.
“If you are exceeding your income, then you must accept to live below your income, which is the easy way, otherwise if you are earning ¢3,000 and you are in debt of ¢10,000 you cannot day to day spend ¢3,000.
“For you to get out of the rag, you will have to cut your expenditure to ¢2,000 because you must service your debt. So we are in that situation as a country,” he said.
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