Six political parties not represented in Parliament have expressed varied views about the passage of the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-levy) last Tuesday.
Speaking in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic, some lauded the government for introducing measures to resuscitate the economy with the passage of the bill, while others felt the new tax would further burden the citizenry.
The parties are the People’s National Convention (PNC), the Convention People’s Party (CPP); the Progressive People’s Party (PPP); the All People’s Congress (APC); the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG) and the National Democratic Party (NDP).
The General Secretary of the PNC, Madam Janet Nabla, told the Daily Graphic that taxation across the globe was the avenue countries depended on to generate income for development purposes.
She said the new tax measure was geared towards addressing the rising debts, creating jobs for the teeming youth, addressing infrastructural challenges, improving the transportation system, extending loans to the private sector and young entrepreneurs, etc.
“It is our considered view that we all, especially the Minority in Parliament, keep watch to ensure the above-stated issues are addressed by the E-Levy for the good of Ghana.
“We believe in generating funds internally and using those funds to develop areas we deem fit,” she said.
She urged Ghanaians to be on the government's neck to demand for stewardship and accountability.
The General Secretary of the CPP, Nana Yaa Akyempim Jantuah, described the E-Levy as obnoxious and punitive.
She said the party would support any legal action against the implementation of the E-Levy, stressing that the CPP stood with Ghanaians and did not want to see citizens go through pain by means of tax hardships and tax exploitation.
She said the CPP disagreed with the walkout staged by the Minority in Parliament during the discussion of the bill and was of the opinion that the opposition should have sat through and voted against it for all to see that they (NDC MPs) were really opposed to the bill.
For his part, the Director of Communications of the PPP, Mr Emmanuel Felix Mantey, reaffirmed his party’s stance against the introduction of the tax.
According to him, the solution to the current economic challenges in the country was not the imposition of new taxes but the effective and efficient administration of existing tax revenue measures.
He called on the government to invest resources in the productive sectors of the economy to raise enough resources for the development of the nation instead of slapping the already burdened citizenry with new taxes.
The Leader of the LPG, Mr Percival Kofi Akpaloo, welcomed the passage of the E-Levy, saying it would help transform the country.
He underscored the need for Ghanaians to support the initiative because the government could not run the affairs of the country without revenue.
On the walkout by the Minority in Parliament, Mr Akpaloo said it was a tool deployed by the NDC to demonstrate to their followers that they were opposed to the bill “but deep within them, they were in favour of the new levy”.
The General Secretary of the NDP, Alhaji Mohammed Frimpong, for his part said the E-Levy was a bitter pill that must be swallowed because Ghana needed the revenue to develop and support some of its social intervention programmes, including the Free SHS Policy rolled out over the years.
He said considering the fact that Ghana was in a defining moment of governance, political parties and the government in power must give the people firm assurances of leadership to enable them to support the levy and also contribute to holding government accountable in the best interest of the country at all times.
The Founder of the APC, Mr Hassan Ayariga, said the passage of the E-Levy would encourage Ghanaians to pay taxes for the rapid socio-economic development of the country.
He, however, indicated that the mistrust that had greeted the introduction of the new levy was due to the fact that the government had not thoroughly accounted for the huge money borrowed over the years, leading to the downgrade of the economy by international rating agencies.
He said a section of Ghanaians did not trust that the money would be used for productive ventures to support the economy, and called on the government to avail itself for accountability from taxpayers on the usage of revenue generated from the E-Levy.