Some mobile money merchants and patrons have called for more education on the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-levy) to sensitise the public to the operations of the new tax regime.
They said due to the lack of education on the system, mobile money business, popularly referred to as MoMo, had experienced some anxious moments of panic withdrawals and a decline in transactions.
The implementation of the new tax of 1.5 per cent charges on some electronic transactions came into force last Sunday.
Daily Graphic’s McClean Kwofie, Abigail Sedinam Kortiah, Elizabeth Konadu-Boakye & Jemima Okang Addae on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, went to town to assess the situation from merchants and patrons.
The reporters observed that while business seemed to have slowed down at transaction points, the banks seemed prepared for the new regime.
Some patrons claimed that they withdrew their money from their MoMo accounts weeks before the implementation of the tax to avoid the deductions.
A mobile money merchant at Labone, who identified herself as Gladys, said many people started withdrawing their money before the implementation day.
“Last Saturday, ahead of the May 1, 2022 implementation of the levy, people began withdrawing; it reached a point where we had no cash,” she added.
Another merchant at Kaneshie, Mary Danso, said people withdrawing were more than those depositing, saying “they do not understand the levy or tax. When someone comes to deposit GHc50, he or she will ask how much the levy charge is, which I often explain to them”.
A patron, Esi Birago, said she withdrew GHc2,000 from her account because she was misinformed about how the levy worked.
“I withdrew GHؓc2,000 from my account just last week because I thought they will deduct GHؓc250 from it. Later, my husband told me that it was a lie,” she said.
Another patron, Benjamin Essien, said he did not see anything wrong with the levy, since “it is a way of contributing to national development”.
The General-Secretary of the Mobile Money Agents Association of Ghana (MMAAG), Evans Otumfuo, confirmed that members had been reporting of slow business since the start of the levy.
“We anticipated that a few days into the implementation of the levy, we will experience slow traffic, and that is exactly what is happening,” he said.
Mobile banking enables customers to operate their bank accounts through their mobile phones.
It was observed that customers who called their banks to transact business were keen and alert on deductions made on their transactions.
A bank teller at Sinapi Aba, Ophelia, said some customers exhibited ignorance of the system, while others questioned the amount of deductions on their transactions.
The President of the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB), John Awuah, said most of the challenges being experienced at the initial stages had been anticipated.
For instance, he said, it was expected that due to the unavailability of a common platform at the initial stages, it would be difficult to identify whether someone had exceeded a transaction threshold or not.
“So those initial hiccups were expected, and the roll-out of a common platform to address these challenges has been pushed to July 1, 2022,” he explained.