The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has reiterated government’s decision and commitment to cutting down expenditure across board by 20 per cent, as part of a prudent fiscal consolidation move.
The Minister gave the assurance yesterday during a government Town Hall Meeting on the proposed Electronic Transactions Levy (E-Levy) held at Tamale, in the Northern Region.
Mr Ofori-Atta explained that the government’s decision to rationalise expenditure by some 20 per cent is to decisively strengthen fiscal consolidation of the 2022 budget to address critical concerns of the economy, create jobs for the youth, obtain a positive primary balance and stabilise the country’s debt levels.
He added that the decision is in accordance with the Public Management Act (PFMA), saying it would further help strengthen expenditure management, bring the deficit back within limit, make development sustainable and channel expenditure to critical sectors of the economy to increase growth and create jobs
“We are committed, like we have stated earlier, to cutting down public expenditure by 20 per cent. This means that our fiscal consolidation agenda, going forward, is not going to be only revenue-led, but also expenditure focused. And through the E-Levy, government can rake in more revenue to invest in important sectors of the Ghanaian economy to the benefit of all,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.
The government has been on track holding series of Town Hall Meetings to sensitise Ghanaians on the Electronic Transactions Levy (E-Levy), the subject of which has raised serious controversies, particularly among market women and other businesspersons who rely heavily on Mobile Money as a means of transacting business.
Allaying the fears
Allaying the fears of Ghanaians, the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, emphasised that the levy provides Ghanaians with an opportunity to contribute to the country’s economic and infrastructural development.
He added the E-Levy would put government in a better position to provide for the needs of the citizenry.
Present at the Town Hall meeting was the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson; the Deputy Minister of Transport, Alhassan Tampuli Sulemana; and the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu.
In her contribution, Mrs. Hawa Koomson took time to demystify misconceptions on the E-Levy, saying government will, contrary to claims being peddled by opposition factions, plough back the proceeds that accrue from the levy into sectors of the economy that will benefit the generality of Ghanaians.
Mr Tampuli also emphasised the need for Ghana to be self-reliant, and look internally to mobilise revenue, rather than keep going cup-in-hand to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
He indicated that going to the Bretton Wood institution comes with a lot of conditionalities that will restrict government from providing for the basic needs of Ghanaians.
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Shani, taking his turn, encouraged citizens to embrace the E-Levy as government explores other mechanisms of burden-sharing and raising additional revenue for the betterment of all citizens.