Traders Advocacy Group Ghana (TAGG) has urged the government to take a second look at the composite of the E-levy and possibly reduce the rate to an acceptable level where every Ghanaian will accept and embrace.
According to the Group, the E-levy is a smart way of widening the tax net and also in increasing the tax contribution to GDP growth 2022, hence that cannot be done away with.
Addressing a Press Conference in Accra, General Secretary of TAGG, Nana Poku, indicated that government is to reduce the E-levy rate and stagger rates in standard tiers since traders have come to accept the digital payment platforms especially the MoMo platforms for payment of wages, paying suppliers and their vendors.
The Finance Minister indicated in the budget the introduction of the 1.75 percent Electronic Transaction Levy (E-Levy) scheduled to take off in January 2022.
TAGG averred that the convenience that the MoMo platform brings has even reduced highway robbery amongst their members and traders, and hence the Group entreats government to go “back to the drawing board and think about the rate again and heed to the advice and call from Ghanaians especially traders.”
TAGG also suggested that the government liaise with Traders Advocacy Group Ghana (TAGG) for data on Traders who can do huge volumes on the local sourcing of the 1D1F products and find a way to support these traders within that category.
“Once we assist the government in identifying these high-volumes of traders, an arrangement could be put together with the manufacturers to supply the traders within the scope of the agreement. This is because we have the full database of all these traders who have the capacity to do so with a click of a button…. we are calling on the government to heed to our call to maintain peace and tranquility in the country,” he said.
The President of TAGG, Kwadwo Amoateng in an interview spoke about the reversal of the Benchmark values which the Finance Minister, in presenting the 2022 Budget statement on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, 24th November, 2021 mentioned.
The Finance Minister mentioned that the 50% and 30% benchmark values on some 32 selected items and vehicles respectively have been removed with the aim of promoting the manufacturing sector and the patronage of locally produced goods in Ghana.
TAGG said it has no problem with government initiatives aiming to direct their Enterprising Traders into the local manufacturers.
However, it said the government must clearly indicate these 32 selected items of which Ghanaian companies are producing, and the production capacity being produced by these companies as claimed by the government. “Should we ask ourselves that per the advice from AGI to government enough to inform the decision of reversing the Benchmark values? With regards to our questions, the production data from these Ghanaian industries are crucial to the trader to make some basic analysis on availability of stocks, which informs the decisions in comparing prices, quality standards and availability of the volumes needed for our operations now that 100% benchmark values are restored,” he said.
He reminded the government that traders will always be traders and are ever ready to pass on any additional charge/cost to the final consumer 100%.
The action by the government warranting the removal of the Benchmark values and adding on cost of doing business at Ghana Ports, he indicated, will not be a problem that should warrant a strike action or a demonstration to interrupt their business activities.
He said: “Have you ever seen or heard of any strike or demonstration from the big players like Shoprite, Melcom, Game, Palace, Orca Deco, China Mall, Koala etc.; NO!!! You know why, they will always pass on the excess cost to the final consumer. We entreat our traders not to entertain any activity that will affect free flow of their business operations especially towards the festive season. All traders are advised to add on in order to stay in business.”
By PROSPER AGBENYEGA