The contentious Electronic Transaction Levy could not be approved following Parliament’s adjournment to January 18, 2022.
The proposed levy, which was expected to come into effect on February 1, 2022, is a charge of 1.75 percent on the value of electronic transactions. It covers mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances. The originator of the transactions will bear the charge except for inward remittances, which will be borne by the recipient. There is an exemption for transactions up to GH¢100 ($16) per day.
The bill to enact the levy had been presented to Parliament this week under a certificate of urgency, but deliberations by MPs took a chaotic turn on Monday after the majority and minority sides of the House clashed over whether the First Deputy Speaker and MP for Bekwai, Joe Osei Owusu, could participate in the voting on the bill.
The idea behind the tax, according to Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, is to “widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector”. It is expected to generate GH¢6.9bn in 2022.
Parliament’s inability to pass the levy “does not mean without it government cannot go on,” said Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu. “Government will run. The budget has been approved and other sources of revenue will be applied into the new year, and when we come back we will do the needful to rescue what needs to be rescued in order for government to be able to perform its duties unhindered by anybody.”
When Parliament reconvened on Tuesday, the Majority Leader prayed the First Deputy Speaker, Joe Osei Owusu, who was presiding, to adjourn the House until January 18, 2022, for cooler heads to prevail.
According to him, the House was not serene to conduct business, considering the events of the previous night.
The prayer was seconded by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, who also said the adjournment would allow for more consultations on all pertinent issues.
“It is important that we carry the country along, and we need to demonstrate to the country that our democracy is growing and will not suffer some unacceptable scenes and spectacles we’ve witnessed on the floor,” said Mr. Iddrisu.
“So I can only concur with what the leader has said. So you adjourn the House sine die for some consultation on the outstanding issue.”