Some Ghanaians have expressed concerns over the introduction of the electronic levy (e-levy) on mobile money (MoMo) and other digital transactions.
They said the introduction of the levy in the 2022 Budget would compound the high cost of living in the country.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, during the 2022 Budget Statement presentation in Parliament on Wednesday, said effective January 1, 2022, the Government would impose a 1.75 per cent levy on mobile money and other digital transactions, with exemptions on transactions that add up to GHC 100 or less a day, approximately GHC3000 a month.
Mr Ofori-Atta said with the removal of road tolls, some percentage of the e-levy revenue would be used to support road infrastructure development as well as improvement in public transportation, including the purchase of buses.
However, the move has been criticised by many people, with some saying levies were taking all their earnings and making cost of living very high.
Mr Dominic Asitanga, a public servant, said, “…what struck me most as usual is the introduction of another tax…It is so sad that mobile money transaction is about to be taxed on top of all the taxes we have to pay.
This is going to burden us the more because we already pay GHC1 per every GHC100 transaction to the mobile money agents. Already we are being suffocated with the GHC1 charges.”
Ms Elizabeth Danso, a trader, said, “the introduction of this tax would force many out of business…The government must rather reduce taxes to create an enabling environment that will support the creation of jobs by the youth.”
Mr Ahmed Sowah, a regular user of digital payment systems, said “the e-levy will reduce the disposable income, making the net amount we receive lower and compound the high cost of living.”
He described the introduction of the e-levy as “a lazy way to raise money by the Government,” adding that, it will make the poor suffer the more.
“We pay commission on accounts, bank charges and other transfer charges so the e-levy is out of place. They should find a way to tax the banks on those commissions,” he recommended.
Addressing the media after the Budget reading, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, a Ranking Member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, said the introduction of the levy would worsen the hardship of Ghanaians.
“We have seen a 15 per cent increase in all government fees and charges and we think that it is a bit too much. Government may need to think about it. These new tax measures will bring great suffering to Ghanaians who have already been choked with taxes,” he said.