Ghana is struggling to revive its economy after the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
Ghana’s parliament has approved a new tax on electronic transactions which the government says will help raise $900 million in much-needed revenue, but which has drawn widespread popular criticism.
E-Levy Bill, adopted on Tuesday, will introduce a 1.5% tax on electronic funds transfers and transactions. The government of President Nana Akufo-Addo said the move would help address issues ranging from unemployment to Ghana’s high public debt.
But for many Ghanaians, the tax represents an additional burden as they already grapple with a high cost of living, compounded by soaring fuel prices due to the Ukraine crisis.
Lawmakers passed the law after the opposition minority backed out of the debate.
“The Electronic Transfer Tax was duly read today after passing the review stage,” said Alban Bagbin, Speaker of Parliament.
Earlier, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said the government had already reduced the proposed tax from 1.75% to 1.5% after consultations, adding that it would generate projected revenues of 927.5 million of dollars.
Before leaving the debate, opposition lawmakers called the new tax unfair.
“The people have categorically rejected electronic debit and our constituents have told us to reject it, so why is the president forcing it on us?” said Isaac Adongo, parliamentarian from the opposition NDC party.
“What is the crime of Ghanaians that the government now wants to use their pockets as collateral? »
Ghana is struggling to revive its economy after the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and its high public debt is a burden. Earlier this week it reopened its land and sea borders after a two-year shutdown as it lifted some coronavirus restrictions in a bid to bolster its flagging economy.
The president and his ministers also recently cut their own salaries by 30%, along with other measures they hope will help generate $400 million in savings for state coffers.