The Government of Ghana has, in the 2022 budget, tried to impose a levy on the use of electronic transactions, but this has been vehemently opposed by a section of the populace, especially by the Minority in Parliament.
This tax, E-LEVY, they say, should never be contemplated at all but we of the Patriotic Voices think otherwise.
In our part of the world, we always draw our national budgets with two things in mind; taxes we can raise domestically AND grants from our Development Partners.
We make up the rest with loans, loans and loans. The Minority are saying that the country cannot go on borrowing. And we agree with them perfectly. The country cannot go on borrowing forever. The question then is, how do we finance our budget deficit?
The answer, we believe, lies in the President’s much touted GHANA BEYOND AID. This is the way to go to right the wrongs we have done over the years, in fact, since independence. Our first President never did it and subsequent regimes and governments failed to do it. Now we have a President who is pragmatic enough to seize the bull by the horns. We have to wean ourselves from our donors, we cannot and must not always run to them with begging bowls. This is the surest way to prevent them from pushing obnoxious practices down our throats. If we were able to wean ourselves from these so-called Donor Partners, they would not have the guts to tell us to accept their evil practices of Gayism, Lesbianism, and other forms of unprintable isms, all in the name of Human Rights which they themselves dont believe in.
These Donor Partners we fall on for our mainstay have built their countries and economies on taxes. In fact, they impose taxes on everything including enforcing their tax laws on gifts and presents.
The tax authorities would have ensured Mahama paid gift tax on his infamous Ford Expedition, if it were in the USA, Germany or any other Western Country. We have to learn to pay taxes if we want good roads, good drinking water, clean environment, good health, good education, employment, etc, etc. The back of our hand cannot be tastier than the palm of our hand. We don’t have to depend on grants and excessive borrowing to build our country. We have to sacrifice a little to build a prosperous nation for the unborn generations that will come after us.
Hundred years from now, the country may not have any oil, the land may not be able to give us the cocoa yields we so much depend on, there may not be any timber to exploit, no minerals left in the ground. We do not prepare the future for our children. Rather, we prepare our children for the future. We have to invest in the youth to get good education so they can get good and sustainable jobs.
We all know too well that we have been depending on taxes and contributions to undertake any meaningful developmental projects in our communities. Churches develop through the collections, tithes and voluntary contributions they make and the mosques are no different. But when it comes to nation building, we are very reluctant to contribute our quota.
How many of our companies willingly file their tax returns at the end of the financial year? How many of our self-employed individuals pay direct taxes? Precious few! Indeed, Ghanaians are always reluctant to pay taxes and this has always been our bane. I remember too well in the colonial era when my mother and uncles would run away from home or hide under beds to dodge the Lampoo Krakye who came to collect the annual basic levies. We have never changed with time. In fact, we have become even more so.
This Government has been proactive and pragmatic. It has found very innovative ways to get little taxes here and there for the development of the country. Digitalization has been a very effective means of plugging the numerous loopholes in our tax regimes. An extension to this digitalization is the e-levy which the Government is currently pursuing, to rope in every Ghanaian of taxable age. The E-LEVY is the best thing that has ever been proposed, for a sustainable national development. Borrowing should be on the barest minimum, grants are unreliable, what with the current state of affairs in the world. Direct taxes fetch too little for the country. If we all accept the concept of E-LEVY, the country would go very far and would be able to achieve our targets. Our educational needs would be well catered for, our infrastructural deficits would be taken care of, our health needs would be addressed. In fact, a whole lot would be achieved just by the introduction of this E-Levy.
Increasing taxes would be counter-productive since our tax officers tend to collaborate with individuals to collect monies without receipts, much cheaper than what the tax payer is expected to pay, thereby denying the state of much needed revenue but enriching themselves.
This is an innovative way to rope in all manner of workers, traders, Carpenters, painters, shoemakers, electricians, vulganizers, tailors and dressmakers, beauticians, thus encompassing all Ghanaians everywhere. This is a case of NCNC – NO CONTRIBUTION NO CHOP
If we are all to partake in the national cake then we must all contribute towards the purchase of it. We are quick to complain of bad roads, non-existing markets, lack of school buildings, poor housing, inadequate health facilities and a host of others. We expect government to provide all these, but we don’t want the government to borrow money from outside. If we cannot and must not look outside, then the only direction is inside! Government workers are already over-taxed. The number of workers who pay direct tax is infinitesimal compared to the working population. A lot more people are enjoying State-provided facilities without contributing a dime. Why can’t we be patriotic for once to agree to be taxed for national development?
A small community in a remote area wants to build, say, a place of convenience. They set out with the outlay of the facility, determine the cost and then think of how to finance it. They decide to use their own labor for the work but then when it comes to materials like cement, roofing sheets, iron nails etc, etc, they hit a hard rock. The only thing to do is to find these materials which are not for free. The obvious solution is to make monetary contributions for the purchase of these materials. In the same manner, when the nation wants to build roads, schools, hospitals, houses, airports, harbors, markets, have good drinking water, provide employment for the teeming youths who come out of schools every year, train teachers, train nurses, train doctors, guide entrepreneurs, etc, etc, we have to be innovative. The surest means of roping in every Ghanaian of taxable age is this e-levy. Almost everyone of taxable age uses a phone and does some sort of electronic transactions. So almost everyone is going to be involved.
Have we ever thought about foreigners, especially from Africa, who move about freely and use our sweat-provided facilities without paying a dime in taxes? How does Government get a bite of the huge monies they send home on regular basis? Since most of them are not in formal employment, it is next to impossible to get them taxed. A sure way is the e-levy, which by it’s nature, is used by almost everyone. I believe the Government deserves a round of applause for this innovative idea and must be given maximum support and encouragement to see it through.
I am tempted to believe that the Minority have seen the elephantine benefits that would be derived from the E-Levy, that is why they are fighting at it baldheaded! Government should and must do all it can to push this through because this is the surest way to get all Ghanaians and all foreigners of taxable age to contribute something toward national development. If the opposition is so much opposed to borrowing, and at the same time, to taxation, then I believe they would suggest an alternative means of getting money for all the Government projects that have been lined up and all the social interventions being done. This is the time to help the Government put in pragmatic programs and measures to sanitize the tax systems in the country. They should not do anything to derail the good intentions of the Government.
E-LEVY is very innovative. It will help the country wean itself from our Shylock Donors who give with their right and take it back tenfold with their left. Let us learn to be patriotic, let us learn the art of giving and let us move out of small thinking and think and dream big. We are what we think we are. If we continue to blame the White man for all our woes, after almost seventy years of independence, then we shall forever remain in servitude. Faber est quisque suae fortunae We are the architects of our own fortune. Let us pay this E-LEVY, Ghana and Ghanaians will be the ultimate winners. Let us all try to die a little for our country, for as the Latin scholars would say, Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori(to wit it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country)
Thank you for coming and may God bless our Homeland Ghana and make her great and strong.
MR AKWASI SARPONG
FOUNDER PATRIOTIC VOICES
MR ABUBAKARI YAKUBU
PRO FOR PATRIOTIC VOICES
CONTACT: 0260736392 OR 0545458677