The MPs adjourned sine dine for the Christmas festivity.
Controversial 1.75% E-levy: Parliament goes on recess
Members of Parliament (MPs) went on recess on Tuesday, December 21, 2021,
Over the past week, Parliament has been saddled with work associated with the 2022 budget statement and economic policy.
The MPs will return on January 18, 2022.
The House, after it resumed sitting to consider the approval or otherwise of the E-levy bill on Monday, December 20, 2021, could not make a decision as a result of commotion that characterized voting on the floor of the House following disagreements and proceedings were adjourned.
The commotion started when the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, who was then presiding over proceedings of the House in the absence of the Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin, attempted to also cast his ballot for passage of the Bill under a Certificate of Urgency.
The decision of the First Deputy Speaker to take leave of the Speaker’s chair for the Second Deputy Speaker to take charge to enable him to participate in voting turned chaotic when the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs attempted to prevent him from vacating his chair to participate in the headcount voting process.
This resulted in a clash between the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and opposition NDC sides in Parliament with some MPs throwing their fists while others fell to the ground for proceeding to be adjourned due to the misconduct.
The 25-Member Finance Committee of Parliament had earlier approved the controversial E-Levy Bill for consideration by the House which was done despite the resistance of the Minority NDC members because the Chairman of the Committee voted in favour to break the tie.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta presenting the 2022 Budget Statement in November this year announced the new levy to be charged by the government in 2022 on all electronic transactions to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector.
He stated that the levy would be a 1.75% charge on all electronic transactions covering mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances to be borne by the sender except inward remittances, which will be borne by the recipient.
The Minister said it is becoming clear there exists an enormous potential to increase tax revenues by bringing into the tax bracket, transactions that could be best defined as being undertaken, in what he termed, the informal economy.
According to him, a portion of the proceeds from the E-Levy will be used to support entrepreneurship, youth employment, cyber security, digital and road infrastructure among others.
However, the Minority in Parliament have registered their displeasure, insisting that the implementation of the Bill will worsen the plight of Ghanaians since the government made known its decision to introduce the 1.75% E-levy as part of its measures to widen the tax net.
They have explained that their position is to reject the introduction of the levy in its entirety and will not accept a reduction of the rate by the government.
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