The Majority caucus in parliament has stated that it does not expect to encounter any major challenge in the approval of the controversial electronic transaction levy (E-levy).
This according to the group is as a result of ongoing negotiations it expects to conclude by end of this weekend to build support for the bill before next week.
In a media engagement, Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin underscored the importance of the E-levy to the government stating that it intends to use it to address poor road network challenges and tackle unemployment.
He indicated that the majority side, following in the stead of the Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta has also been engaging broadly on the subject matter.
The Effutu lawmaker said they will be using the weekend to conclude all other outstanding engagements.
“These are important steps that government wants to take to deal with these two major issues[road sector and unemployment] in the country. It requires engagement with stakeholders and I believe that is what we are doing. Surely we are getting somewhere and I have no doubt on my mind that next week we would have gotten to a level where getting the bill passed would not have too many problems. Already we have passed the budget, we have passed the appropriation and all of these were passed by consensus. What is left is the revenue to help deal with the expenditure on these critical areas,” he said.
It will be recalled that the Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu at the resumption of sittings on Tuesday, January 25 indicated to the House that the e-levy will be considered in the second week.
However, at Friday, January 28 sitting, the Suame MP varied the business statement and introduced the bill following what he says were ongoing consultations to build consensus on the contentious levy.
“There have been some consultations which began yesterday. The consultations are concluding, if they conclude positively then perhaps we can consider the e-levy today [Friday, January 28, 2022]. If we don’t conclude positively then we go to next week” he submitted on the floor of Parliament
The minority through North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa raised red flags about the motion indicating the timing of it was of concern as MPs had other engagements in their constituencies since they were heading into a weekend.
The presiding speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu suggested that the debate be had and voting deferred till the Speaker, Alban Bagbin presides over the sitting when he is available.
As the debate was about commencing, the Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu threatened that if the debate is allowed, voting on the motion would also have to take place.
“Mr. Speaker, let me give one condition that when we commence the debate, we will conclude the debate and put the question on the motion. When we commence the debate on the E-levy, its second reading and we end it with the Minority leader’s closing remark and the majority leader and minister of finance…it ultimately should leave us in pursuit of our Standing Orders to you putting the question for a vote on the motion,” he said.
Responding to this, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu moved a motion for the adjournment of the house to Tuesday, February 1, 2022, stating that he does not want to be blamed for extended hours of sitting.
“I have listened to the sentiments of colleagues and I do not want to take any blame for extending the sitting of the house so if the sentiment is that we should take an adjournment, I will apply to you that we adjourn until Tuesday next week at 10 o’clock in the morning,” he moved.