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Stop E-levy and go to IMF; they won’t cut your throat – Mosquito tells Akufo-Addo

General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketiah has urged the Akufo-Addo administration to look elsewhere to mobilise revenue to shore up its 2022 budget and suspend the controversial electronic transactions levy (E-levy).

Speaking to Prince Minkah on Dwaboase on TV XYZ, Asiedu Nketiah who is also known as General Mosquito, observed that Ghana’s fiscal crisis could not be contained by the E-levy which is expected to give the government almost GHS 7 billion.

He stated that the government was preventing going back to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial support because they had in the past criticised the erstwhile NDC government for turning to the Bretton Woods Institution.

“They are imposing the E-levy on Ghanaians because they want to avoid going to IMF after realising the economy of the country is crumbling…During our time, when the country’s finances were not in good shape, we went to Senchi to consult and the experts recommended that we go to IMF but the NPP criticised us and said we went to IMF because we were bereft of ideas,” Asiedu Nketiah narrated in Akan.

“Today instead of making consultations on the E-levy which Ghanaians have rejected, they [the NPP] have decided to push it through Parliament to be passed at all cost to save them from going to IMF…But let me tell you that IMF isn’t a prison. You only go there to get direction and control your spending to ensure that the economy is doing well…They don’t cut throats at IMF; you won’t die when you go there for support,” the NDC chief scribe advised.

In his estimation, the government should be innovative with domestic revenue generation through, citing that in place of the E-levy, the government can tax the telecommunication companies who render the E-services to Ghanaians so citizens are spared the hardship.

“Unlike VAT, this government is not taxing any value-added service. It is the mobile network operators that are creating value and charging Ghanaians for the service rendered. So why won’t the government tax their profits?” he quizzed. and alleged that “the fake GDP figures that were cooked by Ken Ofori-Atta to make the economy look good in the bonds market is why the country is in difficulty.”

IMF is Good Option

Meanwhile, a former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for New Juaben South, and a one-time Chairperson of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah, has urged the government to reconsider returning to IMF as the economy is crushing.

 Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta believes, going to the IMF again will have dire economic implications.
Dr Assibey Yeboah is a former NPP MP

But Dr. Assibey Yeboah told Accra-based Citi FM that a return to the IMF as a monetary organisation should be viewed as an avenue to salvage Ghana’s receding economy.

“Without a doubt, I think we should be placing a call to Washington if we haven’t really done that. We are just not going to ask for the funds just because E-levy has been passed or not. E-levy will just bring about GH¢5 million. We are in a deep hole of our tax revenue and facing difficulties, so going to the Fund will give us some support.”

“So there is nothing wrong with going to the Fund.  Ghana is a member of the IMF so what is wrong going to ask for support when we are in difficulties to go and pool resources.  If I was the finance minister, I will be convincing the President that it is about time we went back”.

Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah also added that the revenue expected to be accrued from the E-levy is infinitesimal to the extent that, it will not be able to ensure the economic stability government is eyeing.

“The GH¢6.9 billion target cannot be realized. There are a lot of exemptions so, in my estimation, the maximum amount we can get from the E-levy is GH¢5 billion, and that is less than a billion dollars, so I do not think that the E-levy is going to be a panacea to our revenues. Going to the IMF will ensure some stability and above all, we are going to get some GH¢3 billion,” he added.

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