Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has pledged to abolish the controversial levy on electronic transactions, commonly known as the E-Levy if elected into power.
Addressing Ghanaians on Wednesday, the New Patriotic Party’s presidential candidate explained that he wants to make Ghana a cashless economy as soon as possible not only to foster economic growth but fight corruption.
However, to achieve this goal, people need to be encouraged to use more electronic channels of payment, he stated.
“To accomplish this, there will be no taxes on digital payments under my administration. The e-levy will therefore be abolished,” Dr Bawumia announced.
The e-levy, which kicked in on Sunday, May 1 2022, sees a 1.5% levy on e-transactions. It covers mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances. There is an exemption for transactions up to GH¢100 per day.
The tax, according to the government, was part of its efforts to widen the tax net and generate revenue for development.
However, Dr Bawumia stressed the importance of transitioning Ghana to a cashless society, citing transparency as a powerful tool against corruption.
He highlighted the benefits of cashless societies, noting that increased electronic payments lead to greater traceability and reduced corruption.
“I would like to bring Ghana close to a cashless economy in the shortest possible time. So far the Bank of Ghana has made a lot of progress in this direction by putting in place a lot of the systems and infrastructure required. These include mobile money interoperability, merchant interoperability, Universal QRCode payment system, Gh-Link, debit cards, Ezwich, and GhanaPay.”
“We have put in place the necessary infrastructure for Ghana to go cashless. Recently the Bank of Ghana has completed a pilot of a digital version of the Ghana cedi note in Sefwi Wiawso. This is known as central bank digital currency (CBDC) or e-cedi. The e-cedi is designed to work online and offline and will be launched by the Bank of Ghana in due course.”
“In my humble opinion, the e-cedi, with appropriate privacy protections, will be the ultimate weapon in our fight against corruption because it will provide transparency, reduce the risk of fraud, robbery, tax avoidance, and money laundering since it will be easy to track the movement of money and identify suspicious activity. The e-cedi will quicken the pace of Ghana’s move towards a cashless or near cashless society.”