2022 budget: Any Ghanaian transferring over GH¢100 is no longer poor – Ursula Owusu

The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, has stated that any Ghanaian transferring over GH¢100 through mobile money is not poor, therefore, must be taxed.

Ursula Owusu

Her comments come after Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced the introduction of a 1.75% phone transactions levy payable by mobile money users per transaction above GH¢100.

Delivering the 2022 budget statement and economic policy to Parliament on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, Ofori-Atta said the new levy will compensate for the abolishment of road tolls.

Ofori-Atta noted during his delivery that the government has scrapped the amount of money being paid by motorists as tolls on public roads in the country.

Explaining the rationale behind the scrapping of the road tolls, the Minister said the revenue that accrues to the state for the construction and maintenance of roads is inadequate and hence, the government has to look elsewhere to equitably generate revenues for the construction and maintenance of our roads.

He said "Total value of transactions for 2020 was estimated to be over GH¢500 billion Cedis compared to GH¢78 billion Cedis in 2016 just 5 years ago, while total mobile money subscribers and active mobile money users have grown by an average rate of 18% and 16% respectively between 2016 and 2019. Mr. Speaker, it is becoming clear there exists the enormous potential to increase tax revenues by bringing into the tax bracket, transactions that could be best defined as being undertaken in the 'shadow economy."

"After considerable deliberations, the Government has decided to place a levy on all electronic transactions to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector. This shall be known as the "Electronic Transaction Levy or E-Levy," he added.

The move has raised questions if indeed government intends to decrease the sufferings on Ghanaians.

Earlier, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia insisted that there is no need for taxes on people sending MoMo because most of the users are poor.

But Ursula Owusu speaking on GHOne TV on Thursday, November 18, 2021, further explained why it's time to tax Ghanaians.

She said the 'poor' used by Bawumia referred to people doing transactions below GH¢100.

She stated that any person sending money that is above GH¢100 to another cannot be considered to be poor because that amount is big enough, therefore, that person must be taxed.

"The state is saying that if you are sending up to a GH¢100 a day, cumulatively you can send up to GH¢3000 a month, that is all going to be tax-free. Now if you have more than a GH¢100 to send a day, then you're not poor. So if you really are poor and you are in a position to send a GH¢100 a day, then we need to re-classify our definition of who the real beneficiaries are. And it is only the sender who pays, not the recipient. Unlike the Telcos where both the sender and receiver pay…," she stated.

Listen to Ursula below:

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