E-Levy: We’ve had engagements with government – Telco Chamber

Dr. Ing Kenneth Ashigbey, CEO of Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications
Dr. Ing Kenneth Ashigbey, CEO of Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Ghana Telecommunication Chamber, Dr. Ing. Kenneth Ashigbey has disclosed there has been some engagements with the sector Ministers over the introduction of the e-levy.

He reiterated, every government operates on taxes to sustain and improve the economy, however, the taxes placed on its citizens should not be burdensome. He said despite the problematic nature of the e-levy, it could be approved after some amendments were made.

Speaking with Samuel Eshun during an interview on the Happy Morning Show, he stated, “At the point where the Minister went to parliament to deliver the Budget, we had not been engaged. Immediately after that, there was an engagement between ourselves, the Deputy Minister for Finance, the Minister for Communication and the GRA.

We all met and started the deliberations on the issue. At some point, we even met with the Minister for Finance himself. So there has been a lot of deliberation post the budget reading. We also petitioned Parliament. We wrote to them to cooperate with the various Ministers and governors and all of that.

We admit that definitely as a country, we can’t develop without these taxes. So these taxations are necessary but what are the ways we can tax people without creating problems for them and for the nation at large, is what we need to be mindful of. Looking at Ghana’s digitization agenda, it has really gone far as globally several countries have decided to drive their economy digitally.

Looking at our financial inclusion, and the index report from the World Bank in 2017, it shows we’re on a good path. However, there are a lot of people outside our financial system and we need to capture them all. We also need to have a critical look at the e-levy topic to avoid unintended consequences, because it could happen. Our petition was just to address these unintended consequences.”

He called for these engagements to be further prolonged and mentioned that, government should have held discussions with key stakeholders before the policies were initially delivered to Parliament. “Looking at the original bill and the final one that was recently being considered in Parliament, there has been some little changes on some of the things we suggested.

However, I definitely think the engagements should continue a lot more. The point also has been made that if we had been engaged earlier, even before it was put to parliament, we wouldn’t have got to this stage,” he added.

Ken Ashigbey further opined that, the tendency for Ghanaians to neglect the mobile money services should the 1.75 e-levy be passed is very high, as he believes Ghanaians are also very convenient trading in cash which poses another alternative.

He therefore cautioned government to review other African countries like Tanzania, who have also imposed levies on electronic transactions, consider the rate and reduce the burden on Ghanaians.

Source: Ghanaweb