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Mobile Money Agents to demonstrate on December 23

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Mobile Money Agents’ Association of Ghana has stated its resolve to embark on an industrial action on Thursday 23, December 2021 over the 1.75 per cent electronic transaction charges (e-levy) announced by the Government.

The Finance Minister Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta announced 1.75 per cent charges on all electronic transactions during the presentation of the 2022 Fiscal Economic Policy to Parliament.

A statement, signed by Mr. Evans Otumfour, General Secretary of Mobile Money Agents’ Association of Ghana (MMAAG), and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Monday, said: “The controversial 1.75 E-levy documented in the 2022 ‘Agyenkwa’ budget is adverse to our business.”
It said, “We see this levy as very regressive and critical to the survival of our businesses. Consequently, as part of our demonstration on Thursday, December 23, 2021, our services as mobile money agents will not be accessible across the country.”

According to the statement, if all efforts failed, indefinite action would be taken, and mobile money agents would not be available across the country on the scheduled day in a bid to express their disagreement over the levy.

“Demonstration is not an answer to the e-levy opposition. Consideration and engagements are on-going with various stakeholders so they should not jump the gun without having the benefit of the conclusions on the engagements.”

Madam Fatimatu Abubakar, Deputy Minister for Information, said on Monday in reaction to the threat of strike by the Mobile Money Agents.

The proposed fee would impose a 1.75 percent levy on all digital money transactions worth more than 100 GHS.

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Despite the Government’s efforts to make a case for the levy, several stakeholders have opposed it, some, saying it would stifle the growth of businesses.

Dr. Kenneth Ashigbey, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications said the Chamber was open for engagements on the 1.75 per cent electronic transaction, saying,“Merchant paying is one thing Ghana should be exempted from at this time.

“Telcos are yet to prepare to meet with the Finance Minister and GRA through a working group.

“We are going into this engagement with learnings from countries that had done this…nobody wants to pay taxes, the enemy is cash and should be put away,” he said.

The Minority has proposed lowering the charge to one per cent and raising the transaction threshold to GH¢300.

Meanwhile, a Fiscal Policy Specialist at Oxfam, Dr. Alex Ampabeng, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that the introduction of the e-levy was inimical to the digitisation and cashless systems the Government was championing.

“The rollout of the tax and its planned mode of implementation is regressive and counterproductive to the Government’s digitisation drive.
“I am a bit disappointed compared to what I was expecting in the fiscal policy, especially on the tax side,” Dr. Ampabeng said.

Parliament would today hold deliberations on the proposed e-levy.

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