May 11, 2022 | In Think Piece
It's the end of the month, and every notification on your phone or any white envelope you see on your work desk could be a potential day maker.
"Payday" is a day every salaried worker looks forward to although you know well that half of the money is already gone before it hits your account.
After income tax is deducted; groceries, rent, utility bills, clothes and essentials will have eaten into your salary before you could breathe on it. For those of us who still live under mummy's roof, we have it easy, but are you really not going to help out financially in a house where you eat a three squared meal?
...are you really not going to help out financially in a house where you eat a three squared meal?
When the finance minister Ken-Ofori Atta announced on the 17th of November last year that the government was going to establish a tax on electronic transactions in the 2022 budget to "widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector," spontaneously, a majority of the citizens thought - "this must be a joke". There was the minority that aligned with the government's ideology and believed that this was going to be the long-awaited economic 'e-levation' the country needed.
Since the motion was first moved in parliament, there has been a swarm of responses, mostly expressing graduating levels of outrage. Most of the tweets surrounding this topic were tweets of vitriol - case in point is the image below:
This levy, they said, was going to be a 1.5% charge on all transactions done above 100 cedis on digital platforms (Zee pay, G-Money, Voda cash, Tigo cash, Mtn Momo etc.).
If you were to send 150 cedis from your mobile money account to another such account or bank account, the government is entitled to 1.5% of the amount. This is after your network service provider deducts their 0.75% charge (shoutout to Vodafone for taking a 0% charge).
The popular argument against is, “how much are we even making in this country first of all”. The price of everything is skyrocketing, but salaries are not skyrocketing alongside.
Secondly, the current taxes on every good or service in the country have not yielded many results in terms of signs of development - so what exactly is the guarantee that e-levy will bring this development?” I can already see the opposition parties' campaign headlines flying around for the next election. “I WILL ABOLISH E-LEVY IN 2025”.
I was a bit indifferent about this whole tax situation in the beginning. Recently, however, on my father’s birthday, I decided to book a spa day for him because, as Rema sang in his hit song titled WOMAN, “as a man, he just has to relax and be taken care of”. I felt the impact. The levy gave me a good slap!
It wasn’t a huge amount, but it was enough money that I could use for bofrot and sobolo at Opkonglo junction. I consoled myself with, “ Don’t worry, you are contributing to the Singaporization of Ghana”.
According to bloombergtax.com, the National Tripartite Committee - the committee set up to advise on employment, labour market issues and minimum wage - announced that the daily minimum wage will increase to 13.53cedis (2.24USD) in 2022. Should you be earning minimum wage, you would be making approximately 360.45cedis at the end of the month - unimaginable. Some surveys have concluded that, on average, the Ghanaian citizen earns between 1280 Ghs to 5070 GHS per month, with the lower percentile of this average, being the majority, making between GHS 1280 and GHS 3000.
National Minimum Wage
Average Minimum Wage
Rising prices and the increase in taxes on the citizens’ money suggest that this wage range is not nearly enough to sustain a comfortable life. Is the outrage about the e-levy in order? As opposed to the constituency treasurer of the NPP, Mr Francis Asare’s claim that the citizens “...have allowed partisan politics to take centre stage about the e-levy…” maybe the outrage is in order.
I am no expert on economic issues, but if the government actually utilizes the proceeds from the e-levy efficiently, in tandem with proceeds from all the other taxes and other forms of government revenue, we might be happy with the development see.
In the words of John F. Kennedy, “the process of growth (development) is gradual, bearing fruit in a decade, not a day”.
So even as the finance minister insists that this new levy would drive Ghana's economy forward, especially due to the country's high debt profile all we can do is bide our time and see how well this new tax measure ages.
Maybe we might have to wait for ten years to see the fruit of the e-levy (**inserts clown face emoji**).
we have to wait for ten years to see the fruit of the e-levy (**insert clown face emoji**)
I admire your optimism, but I just can't share in it. Our biggest problem as a country hasn't been that we lack resources, but just how wasteful we have been. Yes, E-levy means more revenue for govt but where is the discipline and will we need to translate than into devt?
Hahaa I get your point, there has not been much 'working' to prove how well the money will be used. As Rosalyn said, we wait.
* we won't spam you, never.
At this point, we wait.