Discerning listeners of Joy FM have expressed divergent views on the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of government presented to Parliament by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.
On Friday, listeners of the Super Morning Show were given the opportunity to share their opinions on what was described by Mr. Ofori-Atta as ‘agyenkwa’ (Saviour) budget.
While some lauded the new policies that have been introduced, others opposed them. The major concerns raised revolved around the e-levy and the abolishment of the road levy.
A caller who identified himself as Emmanuel, from Totime in the Volta Region, questioned the rationale behind the new taxes when government, as a result of Covid-19, has already introduced various taxes.
“Wasn’t it just last year that government introduced a lot of taxes because of Covid-19; the Covid-19 recovery levy and the taxes that have been increased in the fuel sector, what are these monies used for before they’re taxing our meager mobile money transactions?
“The network operators are even taking 1% and the government wants to take 1.75%. This is worrying, it is going to burden us. We are already suffering. In fact, we seriously need to kick against it because it’s a killer tax,” he said.
Agyare on the other hand described the budget as “the best budget so far.”
He further noted that the e-levy is a step in the right direction since some of the banks are already charging them on transactions.
“Looking at the things that were stated in it, for instance, the e-levy which has been criticised because of claims that it is going to increase charges on momo and banking transactions, I think it’s a good initiative. Because these taxes were already being deducted by some of the banks and customers pay.
“So why not out of your own convenience decide to use the mobile banking service, then the transportation you would have paid going to the bank, the government says let’s deduct that and use it to construct the deplorable roads that we ply in the country. I don’t think that is something bad,” he added.
Another caller who identified himself as Joseph Agyemang, from Tema, touched on both the abolished road toll and the introduction of e-levy.
He holds the view that this tax will enable government to tax mobile money operators who earn a lot at the end of the month yet are not being taxed by the government.
“Some of us doing our monthly jobs are paying over there. So those who are swerving taxes, those who are sending a lot of money through MoMo just because of doing business. If you’re going to do business, you need to pay taxes for government to use to develop the country. So I don’t think this is too much for us,” he said.
Though he Is content with the introduction of the e-levy, he Is not happy about it replacing the road levy.
“Secondly, on the toll, carrying on with it is not a good idea because these taxes being charged on the electronic transactions should serve a different purpose since they are coming from a different sector and the road tolls should be maintained for the purpose of maintaining the roads,” he said.
“If they don’t work on the roads after taking these monies, then we the voters can advise ourselves,” he added.
Next to comment on the issues was Elvis who phoned in from East Legon. He is of the view that the electronic levy which has replaced the toll system is uncalled for.
“It’s unfair. We know that the levy on the roads goes to the Roads and Highways Ministry to take care of the roads, so it should be there. They shouldn’t replace that with the MoMo levy. MoMo goes with all kinds of people so they should look at it again,” he said.
Ben from Adentan also lauded the abolishment of the road toll. He expressed the view that though the toll system has been in place for so many years, there are still very bad roads in the country.
“Removing the road toll is the right thing to do and I support that 100%,” he said.
He further urged government to demolish all those structures to prevent the road toll from being re-introduced.
“What is left now is for government to pull down all those structures since they are no longer needed,” he said. This notwithstanding, he slammed government over its decision to introduce a 1.75% tax on electronic transactions. He was of the view that this move defeats the purpose of the digitisation agenda since it will compel a lot of people to have a change of mind about using electronic transactions.
Genero, from Accra, supports the abolishment of the toll system. He indicated that there was no point in taking the toll when it is not serving the purpose of being used to maintain roads.
Kwame from Obuasi ended the conversation with an argument that though close to 50% of taxes have been imposed on fuel, government keeps complaining that fewer taxes are paid in the country, hence, the little achievement in terms of development. “It makes my blood boil,” he concluded.
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