The value of mobile money transactions between 1 January and 24 January this year amounted to GHC75 billion, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, has said.
Speaking at a government town hall meeting on the E-Levy held on Thursday (27 January 2022) in Koforidua in the Eastern Region, Owusu-Ekuful said: “Today, as we speak, [looking at] mobile money transactions from 1 to 24 January, 33 million transactions have been conducted this year alone, amounting to a value of over GHC75 billion.”
She said the E-Levy on such transactions will help the government improve its ability to generate revenue to develop Ghana. “We need to finance our development agenda and stop depending on loans and borrowing from other countries if we are to be truly independent,” the minister said.
The Communications Minister argued that Ghanaians have no cause for alarm about the E-Levy, because it will help raise the revenue Ghana needs to support its growth.
She argued: “The E-Levy is being introduced at a … rate of 1.75%. In other countries, digital taxes are being introduced to the tune of 10% and we travel there to seek loans for our development and to borrow.
“In 2020, the Communication Service Tax (CST) Amendment Act was passed to reduce the rate from 9% to 5%. When the CST was introduced, it faced similar opposition [to what] we are seeing currently and the current Speaker dubbed it a ‘talk tax’ … the NDC and the [telecommunications] industry, led by the GSMA [Global System for Mobile Communications] data, claimed it would damage the growth of the telecommunications industry, as consumers would change their mobile communication habits.
“This did not happen; they were unfounded fears,” Owusu-Ekuful said.
Journey to entrepreneurship
The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has also said the introduction of the Electronic Transactions Levy will help kick-start Ghana’s journey towards a flourishing, entrepreneur-led economy.
He said he believes the E-Levy can help increase Ghana’s tax-to-GDP ratio, explaining that proceeds from the new levy will be used to support the government’s key entrepreneurship-centred initiatives, such as YouStart.
“The E-Levy is intrinsically linked to the YouStart initiative. We consider the E-Levy an essential tool to increase our tax-to-GDP from around 13% to 16% and above.
“The E-Levy would not only ensure that we do not crowd out the private sector, by reducing borrowing, but would also ensure that we have the revenues to sustainably invest in entrepreneurship, youth employment, cybersecurity [and] digital and road infrastructure,” he said.
The minister was speaking at the 73rd annual New Year School and Conference at the University of Ghana, Legon, on Wednesday (26 January) on the theme “COVID-19 and Socio-Economic Dynamics in Ghana”.
“The E-Levy also provides a means for all Ghanaians to help support their country and grow,” Ofori-Atta said.