The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has reiterated its opposition to the E-Levy and its resolve to vote against it whenever it is brought to Parliament.
It said the tax would bring untold hardship to Ghanaians and reverse the gains made by the country’s march towards a cashless society.
The party maintained that the government could acquire the money it intended to raise from the imposition of the levy through other means without necessarily taxing the people.
Town hall meeting
Speaking at a town hall meeting in Kumasi to explain its stand on the levy, the Member of Parliament for Yapei Kusawgu, Mr John Abdulai Jinapor, said the government could reduce the number of its appointees and cut down on some of its luxurious expenditures and also seal the revenue leakages in the system as some of the ways to raise the GH¢6.9 billion it seeks to raise through the E-levy.
According to him, the tax was obnoxious and would have dire consequences on the citizenry.
He urged the government to learn from the consequences of the introduction of such a tax from countries that have implemented it on the continent.
Mr Jinapor accused the NPP government of its unbridled love for loans such that in the last four years, it contracted more loans than the combined administrations of Presidents John Agyekum Kufuor, Professor John Evans Atta Mills and John Dramani Mahama.
He said currently the country debt to GDP ratio was 80 per cent with nothing to show for.
According to him, the government should not be borrowing to service debt and for recurrent expenditure but to invest in the economy.
For her part, the MP for Techiman North, Mrs Elisabeth Ofosu Agyare, said the Minority in Parliament would not waiver in their stand on the levy and would continue to be the voice for the voiceless.
Contrary to claims by the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Osei-Mensah-Bonsu, that the E-Levy Bill has been passed, the former Minister for Tourism said “the bill is still pending before the house.”
She said all the 137 Minority MPs would vote against the imposition of the tax as “it is going to saddle the people with more hardship in a tattered economy.
“We are not against people paying tax but a tax that will burden the people, we will not allow it,” she said.
Admittedly, she said the New Patriotic Party could pass the levy with its simple majority in Parliament and explained that “in that event, there is very little we can do.”
However, she said the party’s stand on the levy was a non-negotiable one. “We will not be part of it. It has nothing good for this country,” she added.
Spread the news
The National Chairman of the party, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, said the town hall meeting would not be limited to the Ashanti Region but would be extended to the other regions where the people would be addressed in their own dialects to enable the message to sink down.
He asked that the issue should not be reduced to NPP-NDC politics but rather about bread and butter.
“It is a Ghana affair,” he said.
He urged the party communication officers to send the message to the people and go from house to house to ensure that the people understood the E-levy and its ramifications for their survival.
He commended the communication office of the party and the parliamentary caucus for being able to hold the meeting in spite of the challenges.