A civil society group, “Justice 4 Ghana’, has announced that they will embark on a three-day picketing at the premises of Parliament from January 25.
In a statement circulated on social media, the group indicated that, the objective of the planned picketing is to register their dissatisfaction with the controversial E-levy Bill.
“The leadership of the above groups wishes to notify you about a planned picketing at the Parliament House of Ghana from 25th to 27th January, 2022 dubbed OccupyParliamentHouse. The event will not include a procession. OccupyParliamentHouse will start and end at Parliament House, with a sole objective of drawing attention to the public opposition to the e-levy and demand MPs vote according to the wishes of Ghanaians who they purport to represent.” a portion of the statement read.
According to the statement, about one thousand people will be expected to converge at the precincts of Parliament from 8am in the morning, until “the vote on the E-levy Bill is completed”. The group also said, after the planned picketing, it will submit a formal petition to Parliament on their substantive concerns.
The notice on the picketing was signed by a member of the group, Mr. Daniel Arthur, on behalf of the leader and convenor for ‘Justice 4 Ghana’, Mr. Bernard Mornah.
Meanwhile, Majority leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu says, he is baffled by the statement that the E-levy, as contained in the 2022 budget statement, has not been approved by the Parliament.
According to him, the levy was not only approved, when the motion to approve the budget was adopted in Parliament, but it was included in the Appropriation Bill which was passed unanimously by the House.
Addressing a capacity building workshop organized for the Majority Caucus in Parliament and some Ministers of State, on Saturday, January 22, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said that “it is a difficulty for me when people are kicking against the e-levy when you know that in the adoption of the motion to approve the budget, we approved of that. So, it means that the first step has already been surmounted.”
He added, “then the e-levy has been factored into the various estimates that we have approved for all the sectors. That is the second thing we did. The third step is when we encapsulated everything into the Appropriation Bill and passed the Bill unanimously. What does it mean, you have approved of the E-levy.”
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu explained that the outstanding step to complete the process for e-Levy to be implemented is to back the policy with the enabling legislation.
Debate on the E-levy Bill was halted on December 20 after proceedings in the House turned chaotic with the MPs engaging in a fight during a headcount on whether or not to accept the Bill under a certificate of urgency. The House hoped that suspending the discussions after the brawl would allow for further consultations on the E-levy Bill.
Parliament will be reconvening on January 25 and members are expected to deliberate and vote on the Bill.
But “Justice 4 Ghana’ said, they are keen on ensuring that the Bill is not passed into law. According to them, the E-levy Bill will impose more hardship on Ghanaians, and worsen the already depleting state of the economy.
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