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Don’t start a conversation about the e-levy failing; it’s unacceptable – Kwaku Kwarteng tells the media

The Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Kwaku Kwarteng, has called on the media to desist from discussing issues about the e-levy which seem to suggest the policy has failed.

According to him, the policy has not failed considering it only just began, and has called on the media to support the government’s rollout of the policy.

“I think the media should be supporting government to be focused; we cannot afford to implement big national policies and change it after two months because we are not seeing the results immediately. So I think this discussion about the e-levy being a failure is completely unacceptable.

“When a policy has not come into effect, you cannot be saying we are half year and it hasn’t yielded what was expected. We know why. And what I’ll say is, it’s early days yet, let us be patient, let government really proceed to implement the e-levy,” he said.

The discussion on the alleged failure of the e-levy was provoked by a tweet by a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gabby Otchere-Darko on Monday, June 27.

According to him, the e-levy had not lived up to government expectations.

He disclosed that the Electronic Transactions Levy (e-levy) has generated less than ¢60 million, close to two months of its implementation, and hinted at government possibly seeking support from the IMF.

“What options are open to the government? The question should rather be: what option, if adopted, will re-inject investor confidence in our economy? Even if we find the $3-5 billion required, will that help? E-levy which was to have given us some 600m by now has done less than 60m,” he said.

However, speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, Kwaku Kwarteng noted that it is early days yet, and government had expected revenue mobilization to be slow at the start, but are optimistic things will pick up later in the year.

He further added that the e-levy is yet to be fully implemented as the platform supposed to collect the levy and monitor revenue generation in real time is not ready.

“In fact, there is a sense in which the implementation has not fully even began and I say that because the e-levy is supposed to be collected on an electronic platform so that if you’re paying a 100 cedis by your momo, if you try to pay the next 100 through your bank account, the system would know that you have already exhausted your threshold. That platform has not come into effect yet.

“Because it hasn’t come into effect, real time monitoring is not possible. So even the figures we are seeing, I’m not sure we have collected from all the collecting agencies. What GRA is trying to do whilst they now seek to complete the building of the platform is to let the collecting agencies to declare. When they declare, I doubt if the GRA has even had the opportunity to audit. Then they will now take steps to audit. All that hasn’t happened,” he said.

He called on Ghanaians to exercise patience and allow the e-levy function.

He hinted that should the e-levy continue to generate revenue below expectation, the government would withdraw the policy.

“So even these figures that are being thrown out I don’t know if they’re right. Let us have patience, the e-levy is a policy that went through a lot before we could pass it, let us take our time. If eventually it turns out not to be a helpful policy government itself will withdraw.

“But now, I think it’s early days yet and please let the media not start this discussion about a big policy like this that you would say has probably failed because somehow we expected that you start the policy and immediately the money will be coming in. We’re not going to get that,” he said.

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