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Post budget workshop helps MPs to interrogate budget statement

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Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has stated that post budget workshop was to help members interrogate critical issues during the consideration of the budget estimates and conduct effective oversight role.

He said it was also designed to provide members with insight into the budget to enable them debate and make meaningful contributions on the floor of the House.

He said as representative of the people they owed it a duty to thoroughly scrutinize the budget to determine the extent to which it addressed the country’s developmental challenges particular issues relating to poverty eradication, gender, children and vulnerable issues, employment, social issues, infrastructural challenges and the security of the nation.

He made the observation at a Post Budget Workshop for Members of Parliament (MPs) on the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government at Ho in the Volta Region.

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu has however served notice to government that the Minority Caucus in Parliament would not support the introduction of the proposed electronic levy policy in the 2022 budget statement.

He said the proposed levy served as a disincentive for the growth of the digital economy, investment and the development of the private sector of the country.

“Mr Speaker, our concern is whether the e-levy itself is not and will not be a disincentive to the growth of the digital economy in our country. We are convinced that the e-levy may as well even be a disincentive to investment and a disincentive to private sector development in our country.

“Mr Speaker, we in the minority may not and will not support the government with the introduction of that particular e-levy. We are unable to build a national consensus on that particular matter.”

The workshop is aimed at equipping members with skills to enable them scrutinize the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government and to pass the 2021 Appropriation Act.

The platform also created opportunity for knowledge and experience sharing by members and to understand the policy-underpinnings of government on finances and economic planning for the year 2022.

Mr Iddrisu added that the Minister of Finance in his effort to redeem the economy sought to introduce some measures including; the controversial e-levy or digital levy.

He said the proposed e-levy would be dangerous to the Ghanaian economy as many people would move back to the cash system and defeat the drive towards the paperless system, which he said was their motivating factor not to support the introduction of the levy.

“To paraphrase the Vice President why tax the ordinary poor people…since when have the poor been above ordinary for MoMo and banking to be taxed and even the projection of 1.75 percent e-levy may as well workout to be 3.75 percent” he added.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta in his comment highlighted some of the positive fiscal and macro-economic indicators, which he said pointed to good economic trajectory

He said 2022 Budget Statement was geared towards post COVID-19 recovery agenda, revitalization and transformation of the economy while ensuring fiscal and debt sustainability to promote macro-economic stability for the recovery process and growth of the economy.

The proposed e-levy is scheduled to start on January 1, 2022, if approved by Parliament.

In 2020, the total value of transactions was estimated to be over GH¢500 million with mobile money subscribers and users growing by 16 per cent in 2019.

According to a Bank of Ghana report, Ghana saw an increase of over 120 per cent in the value of digital transactions between February 2020 and February 2021 compared to 44 per cent for the period February 2019 to February 2020 due to the convenience they offer.

Source: GNA

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