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Gov't can't build new roads without E-levy — Kyei-Mensah Bonsu

The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has stated that without the 1.75% levy on all electronic transactions, the government cannot build new roads.

Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, Majority Leader

According to him, the GH¢4.6 billion owed contractors cannot be paid if Ghanaians refuse to pay the E-levy.

Addressing the media in Accra on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, he said the cost of borrowing has "escalated" adding that the country's debt-to-GDP ratio has also risen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We must look inward to mobilise resources for the country to develop, to build our roads, to build clinics, health facilities, to build educational facilities, to deliver potable water and one of the ways to do this is by the introduction of e-levy and people say: 'No, we would not allow you to borrow outside, we will not allow you to also raise revenue from inside this country," Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noted.

"So where are we going? Do we want development or we don't want development? Do we want our roads to be built or not to be built?" the Suame MP asked.

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He stated that the road network has increased by more than 100 percent, therefore, "We need to maintain them, we need to service them, we need to build new roads.

"So, from independence up to 2000, we had only 39,000 km [of the road]; just 20 years after, it’s more than doubled to, as we speak today, 79,000 km. We need to maintain them."

"Where do we have the money to maintain them if we don't mobilise resources from within? Today, as we speak, local road contractors, the government is indebted to them to the tune of about GH¢4.5, GH¢4.5 billion. We're not having money to pay them," he lamented.

He added: "The e-levy, we are told – in fact, the Road Fund contributes something but it’s not much; the road tolls, yielding altogether about GH¢72 million a year. What is it going to do? But, in the meantime, that section of the road where you have the road tolls, often because they stop there, the roads end up being warped and furrowed. So, you have ridges and furrows at that place."

"So, every year, you have to maintain that portion of the road. It’s the GH¢78 million that you collect that you are going to use some to even maintain those sections of the road. How much is left?" he asked.

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"The e-levy, we are told, is going to yield about GH¢8 billion as opposed to GH¢78 million. That will yield enough for us to be able to do the roads. Of course, I do know that it’s not everything that is going to be used for the construction of roads but if you have GH¢8 billion, GH¢9 billion from the e-levy, it’s going to be substantial for you to be able to engage in development programmes and projects. So, the dialogue sessions indicated to us that we needed to do this," he said.

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