According to Mr. Benjamin Boakye, executive director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, the e-levy must be eliminated.
On Monday, July 4, he declared that it was clear from the start that the e-levy would not succeed on the New Day show with Berla Mundi on TV3.
In response to the government’s decision to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mr. Boakye was asked if the e-levy should be scrapped. He responded, “The e-levy, we told government it wasn’t going to work from the start and they didn’t listen. It’s one of the factors that contributed to our realization that we only receive 10% when we woke up one morning.
“If you are trying to tax the poor they have more energy to resist, it is a pure economic fact. You rather want to help the poor to grow to become big and contribute tax. If you check our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 71 per cent come from the formal sector. So what that tells you is that the leakages are at the formal sector, so trying to spend more money to target the 30 per cent of the poor bracket, you are not going to get revenue from there. It is clear from the data which government refused t look at.”
“I think it has to go,” he stressed.
Professor Peter Quartey, the director of the Institute of Statistical, Social, and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana, has meantime urged the government to take a look at reducing the e-levy rate to make it simpler for more people to pay.
In an interview with TV3’s Alfred Ocansey on Friday, July 1, he responded to the question of whether the government should continue collecting the e-levy after opting to turn to the Fund for assistance.
He stated that the government still needs the revenue and invited members of parliament from both parties to gather and discuss the best way to evaluate the rate downward.
“The IMF work together with governments. Initially, the policies and everything were just handed over from Washington to the respective countries, this has changed now. You have to develop your own policies and engage with the IMF and they will tell you which ones to take out, which ones to add and then you come to a consensus, based on that they will say, we will fund your programme.
“That is done through balance of payment support. It may take time, in the case of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka announced they were going to the IMF and today, they haven’t finished the process,” he said.
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