Politics

Ken Ofori-Atta To Withdraw E-Levy Bill

Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has given indication that he will withdraw the contentious Electronic Transfer Levy Bill, 2021 on Friday, February 11, 2022 to enable him reintroduce it in Parliament.

Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, who disclosed this on the floor of Parliament yesterday, said this is as a result of the nationwide consultation on the bill, adding that “In the event that he is unlikely to withdraw and reintroduce the bill on Friday, February 11, 2022, he may do so on Tuesday, February 15, 2022.”

Presenting the explanatory memorandum on the Business Statement for the third week ending Friday, February 11, 2022, Mr. Afenyo-Markin indicated that after the withdrawal and reintroduction of the bill, the Business Committee would programme it for consideration during the course of the fourth week of the Parliamentary meeting.

He, therefore, entreated that Members of Parliament (MPs) are to participate fully in the consideration of the bill for the passage of “a good piece of legislation for the benefit of all.”

The Electronic Transfer Levy Bill, 2021 was presented to the House on Thursday, December 16, 2021 by the Finance Minister.

The Deputy Majority Leader said, “Members are reliably informed about efforts by the Hon. Minister for Finance to undertake a sensitisation tour in certain parts of the country to educate the citizenry on the need for the passing of the bill for the benefit of the economy.”

Minority Concern

Members of the Minority have been crying wolf on the E-Levy Bill, with claims that their Majority counterparts wanted to spring a surprise at them after serving notice that they would vote against the bill.

Yesterday, the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, said a cloud of uncertainty surrounded the exact date for the E-Levy Bill to be considered by the House, intimating that this creates confusion in their minds.

His counterpart for the Yapei Kusawgu Constituency, John Abdulai Jinapor, stated that the uncertainty was giving them headache since they were unable to travel to their constituencies, while those unwell were having difficulties going for medical reviews.

Support For Government

Last week, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the government would take actions that enable economic recovery, including the passage of the Electronic Transfer Bill to generate the needed revenue for revitalisation of the nation’s economy.

According to him, economic recovery is central to the forward-looking agenda of the government and therefore, the Majority side will stand with the country to support the government’s decision, which is best aligned with the needs of the citizens, to pass the electronic transaction tax legislation to domestically raise revenue.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was responding to assertions by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu that the NDC MPs remained unshaken on their decision to reject the E-Levy when it is brought for consideration by the House.

The Tamale South NDC MP indicated further that “now we got it introduced on Friday and then today as I watch the Order of the Business pursuant to Standing Order 53, I do not see anything relating to the E-Levy.”

“On this important matter there can be no surprises. We want the Leader of Government Business to lead us through when will it be, if it is to be re-introduced as a new bill or Article 106 – thus the bill is gazetted for us to know or we are continuing Article 106 to suspend our Standing Orders to take it as a matter of urgency,” he quizzed.

Response

The Majority Leader, while responding, said “When I came to present the Business Statement for this week, indeed for last week, there was no indication that the E-Levy Bill was going to be taken; that is true.

“But Mr. Speaker, subsequent to that there was some engagement between the two leaderships of the caucuses and it was determined that the E-levy Bill would be introduced in the House last week Friday.”

#Ahenkanfmonline.com /93.3 FM

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