Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Danger Of The E-Levy

Akufo-Addo and E-levy

The year of 2022 has begun with a lurking danger of an electronic levy looming large. If this levy is allowed to pass, it would make nonsense of electronic money transfer in Ghana especially for high-value consumers, and further worsen our woes. It may be a source of unpredictable upheavals as it bears no tenet of a levy. The name is a misnomer. It should be properly called a ripoff.

MTN charges you up to a thousand cedis if you use its platform to transfer money. Most banks charge less for interbank transfers. And you think it’s a favor. It’s not. That policy is informed by serious financial modeling which includes a subjective relevant element of ‘tolerance threshold’. In pricing for advalereom service, there is a threshold beyond which the customer would shift to an alternative product. So, for instance, if MTN should charge you up to a hundred thousand, the cost of using its platform would have become so prohibitive that you, as a rational consumer would shift to other means of transferring money. Mind you electronic money transfer is not the only means of transferring money. That’s why MTN charges you up to a tolerant threshold as the cost of transferring money doesn’t increase with the size of money pro-rata.

READ ALSO,  E-Levy is a lazy approach to raise revenue – NPP’s Kwame Pianim

This thinking did not go into this e – levy proposal. So, if a big business owner transfers a million cedis from an account at Kokomemle to a different account at Achimota, he is charged GHS 17, 500.00. For those who operate dollar and pound accounts, it’s worse. You must be sufficiently crazy to transfer money between Kokomemle and Achimota at such a cost so you would deliver the money in cash. This has implications for money supply as a large amount of money in the banking sector is not in cash. We may end up not realizing the expected revenue but spending more money in printing more money to meet the demands of the cash economy that would be unleashed. It also has implications for national security as large amounts of money move about unprotected as well as productive man-hours wasted in moving money about.

If you are a small business owner with an initial capital of GHS 10,000.00, anytime you pay your supplies electronically, you’re charged GHS 175.00. If you have a weekly turnover, you pay GHS 700.00 in a month and GHS 8, 400.00 in a year. That is 84% of your initial capital. How many businesses make 80% profit in a year? The immorality of taxing capital and the possibility of double taxation as same amount undergoes multiple transfers has been overflaged.

A levy can be a tax, rate, fine, charge or toll. This proposal is neither of these. It’s not a tax because it charges you for a choice of payment mode and not income earned. There is no earning involved in transferring money on which you should pay tax. It’s not a toll, charge nor a rate because you pay a toll, charge or rate for the use of a service or product. There is no government service or product consumed in money transfer. Service providers use a government fiber optics service for which they are charged on top of taxes they pay on service charges. It’s certainly not a fine because there is no crime in transferring money. So, what exactly is this e – levy?

All these dimensions cannot be lost on leadership. So, why is it determined to push this poison through with vengeance? It’s either desperation has so set in that we are now in a state of paranoia or there is something about this new creature of a levy that we are not aware of. There is probably someone, somewhere planning another fraud on this nation. The vengeance with which this brand of the NPP is prepared to sacrifice national and party interest for the passage of this levy is suspect.

So, behold country men, the moment for patriotism is now. Stand up and be counted. Together, let’s put a stop to democratic dictatorship. Let’s put a stop to this fleece for the creature comfort of the political class.