Some mobile money users in the Ashanti Region are sceptical about the promise Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia gave concerning the scrapping of the e-levy if he becomes president of Ghana.
The controversial tax was introduced in 2022 by the Akufo-Addo government.
While delivering a public lecture on his vision for the country after he was elected flagbearer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Bawumia minced no words in declaring his opposition to taxes on electronic financial transactions, stating that he would abolish the e-levy if elected as President.
The mobile money users have described the position of the NPP presidential candidate as contradictory, doubting if he will indeed scrap it if given the nod since he’s part of the government that introduced it.
Speaking to Citi News, they welcomed Dr. Bawumia’s promise of scrapping the e-levy, questioning the sudden change of mind.
“Taxes are very good at building a nation, and before every country or nation develops, it will actually depend on the taxes the people pay. But the issue is that you, as a vice president, are with us, and you are in the system. You knew the taxes were too much, thus the e-levy was too much for Ghanaians. Why then did you sit there for these taxes to be imposed on us? Now because you want power, you want to tell us that when you get the power you are going to remove these taxes. I think he’s lying to us, and I think he just wants to lure us to vote for him. Then afterwards, he will deceive us. I think the vice president is lying to us; already he has been lying all this while. Everything they talk about, they don’t do so, it’s not a good idea. Ghanaians shouldn’t listen to him.”
Another user also stated, “It’s a good idea to reduce it or take it off; it will help us the citizens. From my perspective, it will help me because the e-levy is not helping us right now. He should be given a mandate to be president so that next year  it will be reduced or taken off.”
An economist at the Economic Department of KNUST, Dr. Paul Owusu Takyi, has expressed concern that the e-levy be suspended to study the financial inclusion of the country before it is scrapped.
“People now don’t want to transact businesses online where they are going to be charged to pay the e-levy. Abolishing the e-levy will reduce tax revenue; what it means is that the government will need to find alternative ways to generate revenue to manage its fiscal deficit. It will also help financial inclusion, where many people will be integrated into the financial sector. Businesses, and payments conducted online will boom and create employment for the youth. The abolishment of the e-levy in the short term is a good proposition for the government to remove it now. The timing is right if it’s abolished,” Dr. Paul Owusu Takyi said.
In a related development, the Ghana Union Movement (GUM) has described Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s envisioned development plan for the country as a “cover-up to win votes.”
The Union questioned the decision by the Vice President not to “acknowledge the failures of the Government” and expressed doubt over his promise to abolish some of the taxes introduced by the current government.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Reverend Christian Kwabena Andrews, the founder and flagbearer of GUM, took issue with the Vice President for not objecting to some taxes introduced by the Government prior to his election as flagbearer of the governing New Patriotic Party.
“He (Bawumia) is part of the regime that introduced the e-levy and other tax measures; so, if he makes a U-turn and says he will abolish it, I do not think it is true because he was the leader of the economic giants that were managing the country,” he said.
The Vice President, who is also the flagbearer of the ruling New Patriotic Party, addressed Ghanaians on Wednesday night, outlining a slew of policies he plans to implement if elected President.
Dr. Bawumia, who has prioritized digitization, stated that he intends to use technology and the private sector to create long-term jobs, generate revenue, and build systems that would propel Ghana into the modern global economy.
The Vice President promised, among other things, to abolish the e-levy, which imposed a 1.5 percent charge on all electronic and mobile money transactions over GH¢100 per day.
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He also promised to align Ghana’s port charges with those of Togo to check the smuggling of goods.
Reverend Andrews said the GUM was in favour of the free port system and explained that the “heavy” taxes on machinery imported into the country undermined investments in the industrial sector.
On the issue of employment, he said economic policies should target jobs that would add value to the country’s resources instead of focusing on the service sector.
“Jobs in the service institutions do not add any economic value to the country. If you want to create jobs, we should focus on the production sector and create value,” he said.
Touching on preparations toward the 2024 General Election, Rev. Andrews said the Party will, in March this year, open nominations for interested persons to pick parliamentary forms at the various constituencies.
He said the Party had also extended a public invitation to Mr. Alan Kyerematen, the Leader and Founder of the Movement for Change, to be its running mate in the 2024 presidential election.
Rev. Andrews stated that Mr. Kyerematen’s ideals and developmental objectives were consistent with those of GUM, hence the invitation.