Tax expert and former Minister for Finance, Seth Terkper, has described as “the most nuisance of all nuisance taxes” the electronic transaction levy (E-Levy).
According to the erstwhile Minister for Finance, the E-Levy is worse than the Energy Sector Recovery Levy (ESLA), Value Added Tax (VAT) and other taxes introduced by the NDC administration which were described as nuisance taxes.
His assertion is based on the premise that unlike the E-Levy which taxes both consumption and capital of businesses, the so-called nuisance taxes by the NDC focused solely on taxing consumption.
“Yes, I agree with the position that E-Levy is the most nuisance of all nuisance taxes, because for instance concerning mobile money, not all mobile money transactions is consumption, some of the transactions are actually capital of business, so its a tax on capital.
“The E-Levy can’t be compared to the VAT or any other straight levies imposed now because doing so shows misunderstanding of why VAT was introduced. Unlike the VAT these levies tax capital and block input tax credit refunds. VAT is a consumption tax and it was to deduct taxes paid on input and capital so that the costs are not transferred to consumers.
“E-Levy is different from VAT because it tax capital,” he stated.
Government has faced harsh criticisms from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), economic anaylsts, think tanks and the general public for the introduction of the E-Levy.
Concerns raised over the introduction of the E-Levy is the potential threat to government’s financial inclusion agenda, promotion of a cash economy and derailing of its digitization drive.
Meanwhile, the former Finance Minister has also said government potentially faces a shutdown next year.
The possible shutdown of government,the former Minister noted, comes on the back of the current stalemate on the passage of the 2022 budget.
According to Mr Terkper, the introduction of the electronic transaction levy is the main contributory factor to the current stalemate on the passage of the budget, further asserting that a consensus should be built around the E-Levy to allow the passage of the budget else there will be no spending by government in 2022 thereby causing the shutdown of government activities.
“If we do not resolve the stalemate on the 2022 budget, there will be no budget to spend in 2022 because there will be no law backing the 2022 budget because it hasn’t been approved by Parliament.
“And when that happens, it is going to result in a shutdown of government activities, and this means no monies for government to run it’s activities and payment to public sector workers ceases,” he stated.
“I think the public has taken the passage of the budget for granted and we need to educate the public on the implications of some these things. Ghanaians I must say are fortunate to have Parliament on an annual basis agree and approve the budget without issues like this happening. But now that we have such an issue, I think we should educate the public on it,” he added.