The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has explained why the implementation of the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy) on May 1, did not pan out as expected.
On Sunday, some mobile money users who tried using the platform realized that they were being charged the E-levy on transfers even below the stipulated baseline of GH¢100.
Speaking on JoyNews’ AM Show on Monday, the Head of Project Management at GRA revealed that the challenge faced yesterday was as a result of the lack of a connected platform that would host the various charging entities.
Mr Isaac Kobina Amoako noted that currently, the charging entities; Telcos, Banks, Payment Service Providers (PSPs) and Specialized deposit-taking institutions; are charging from their individual systems.
Interacting with host, Benjamin Akakpo, he said: “In our engagement with the charging entities, we were going to go with a (project) where everybody was expected by May 1, to connect to a common platform and start charging using the common platform. But at the last minute, we realized that some of the charging parties came to us that they needed an extension so they can fully configure their system to connect to the common platform.”
According to Mr. Kobina Amoako, “the Minister allowed that we shouldn’t connect to the common platform on May 1, and we should allow all the charging entities to do the charging on their own platforms.”
“So currently, what is happening is that the charging is taking place on each of the charging entity’s own system and not through a common system as we envisaged. You are at the mercy of a charging entity’s system so if the system hasn’t been fully configured at their end, then we see some of these challenges,” he added.
Mr. Kobina Amoako admitted that the challenges where off-net transfers to the same person are receiving charges happened during the GRA’s simulation, therefore, was anticipated.
According to him, the Authority has taken steps to ensure these challenges are addressed.
“We have shared some guidelines to the charging entities on how to reverse those legitimate transfers that are not supposed to attract the levy.
The second category also relates to that same off-net where people are sending below 100 cedis and are being charged. That has come to our attention and we are in communication with the charging entities to look into that,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam Nartey George, has said the challenges currently being faced are as a result of the government trying to frustrate the injunction case in court.
Taking to his social media handles following complaints by mobile money users, the MP warned that the challenges being faced now are only a tip of the iceberg, “the worst is yet to come.”
“An abysmal illegality of an implementation is what we are witnessing in an attempt to frustrate the injunction case in court. This mess is with onnet transactions oh, wait for the real chaos when the offnet & interoperability start. The worst is yet to come. Pray for Ghana,” he said.
Hon. Sam George had said that the GRA was not ready with the processes required to achieve a successful implementation of the tax.
Subsequently, the GRA assured the public of smooth implementation, saying that it was 95% ready for the May 1 kickstart.
In view of the current challenges which has vindicated Hon. Sam George, some members of the public have called on the Government to suspend the exercise in order to allow for rectification of all the lapses related to the implementation of the levy, also taking into consideration, the fact that the court case is still pending.
What you need to know about E-levy
Electronic transactions that will not come with a 1.5% tax rate.
- A cumulative transfer of ¢100 made by the same person.
- A transfer between accounts owned by the same person.
- Transfers for the payment of taxes, fees and charges on the Ghana.gov platform
- Electronic clearing of cheques
- Specified merchant payments (that is, payments to commercial establishments registered with the GRA for income tax and VAT purposes)
- Transfers between principal, master agent, and agent’s accounts.
Transfers that will be affected include:
- Mobile money transfers done between accounts on the same Electronic Money Issuer.
- Mobile money transfer to a receiver on another Electronic Money Issuer [Interoperability transfer]
- Transfer from a bank account to [another person’s] mobile money account.
- From a mobile money account to [another person’s] bank account.
- Bank transfers on an instant paid digital platform.