Friday, February 3, 2023

Ghana’s lawmakers fight in parliament over e-levy voting

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

There was chaos in Ghana’s parliament on Monday night as lawmakers vote on the controversial levy on electronic transactions under a certificate of urgency.

The E-levy has sharply divided the house, with opposition lawmakers demanding that government withdraws it before passing the 2022 budget.

In the presentation of the country’s 2022 budget statement last month, the country’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta announced that the introduction of the e-levy has been necessitated by the astronomical rise in electronic transactions, hitting $80 billion (over 500 billion Cedis) in 2020.

According to him, between February 2020 and February 2021 alone, Ghana saw an increase of over 120% in the value of digital transactions.

The government wanted to now impose a 1.75 percent levy on all electronic transactions such as mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments and inward remittances.

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The move has sparked outrage among Ghanaians who have largely demanded its suspension.

On Monday evening the lawmakers engaged in an open brawl as the First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu who comes from the ruling party vacated his seat to enable him cast his vote to pass the E-levy.

The sit-in speaker rejected the minority’s position that he cannot vote per the standing orders of parliament in the absence of Speaker Alban Bagbin.

The minority MPs attempted to seize his chair as he makes his way out of the Chamber for the Second Deputy Speaker to takeover.

This resulted in a free for all fight with the MPs heckling and throwing punches at each other.

The marshals had a tough time bringing order to the House as they wrestle with some MPs to protect the Speaker’s seat, his documents and the mace.

Eventually, the Second Deputy Speaker Asiamah returned to the seat to adjourn sitting to Tuesday, December 21.


Ghana’s decision to tax mobile money transactions sparks outrage



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