While the controversy around the implementation of the electronic transfer levy (e-levy) is still raging on, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has issued guidelines for a three-phased implementation of the levy “as soon as the Bill is passed”.
The guidelines, intercepted by Techgh24, spells out the obligations of entities that will charge the e-levy on behalf of government and also outlines the various proposed phases of the implementation.
In the preamble of the guidelines document, GRA states that the guidelines were arrived at after engaging with and reviewing concerns raised by various stakeholders such as the charging entities, service providers, industry associations, and regulators.
Techgh24 gathered that the stakeholders who met and came up with the guidelines included Ministry of Finance, Ghana.gov, Kelni GVG, Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications and GRA.
The three proposed phases of the implementation are as follows:
- Implementation of e-levy per wallet/account within the same charging entity
In this phase, the charging entities are required to charge the levy, and implement the verification of daily threshold and exemption for wallets/account within their networks and pay all charged levies into a designated bank account via the Ghana.Gov platform.
Phase one is expected to be implemented immediately the Bill is passed.
- Implementation of e-levy per person within the same charging entity
Phase two is where the charging entities will be required to start applying the Ghanacard to identify individuals in addition to the phase one requirements.
This is expected to begin from April 1, 2022 for electronic money issues (telcos) and July 1, 2022 for banks, payment services providers and specialized deposit-taking institutions.
- Implementation of e-levy per person across all charging entities
The third and final phase is also slated for April 1, 2022 and that is when the government common platform will implement the verification of individual identities, verification of daily threshold and exemptions across the networks of the various charging entities.
Under phase three, charging entities will also be required to integrate with GRA systems for the purposes of real-time monitoring, assessment, revenue assurance, and the collection and refund of the levy.
Again, the charging agencies will be required to transfer all levies collected to a designated bank account, but this time, via the API integration with the Ghana.Gov platform to automatically move funds to the designated GRA account.
Per the time listed listed in the guidelines, it appears the e-levy could be implemented sometime this month, even though there is no clear consensus in Parliament on the subject.
Moreover, several surveys and public interviews on the subject points to the fact that Ghanaians are overwhelmingly opposed to the levy, particularly in the midst of the fast rising cost of living in recent times.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta first mentioned the 1.75 per cent e-levy in his 2022 budget reading to Parliament last year. It has since generation very tensed public debate, with the tide largely point to massive public opposition.
Government has since reduced the rate to 1.5 per cent and has gone on a townhall spree trying to convince Ghanaians to see the wisdom in taxing almost every money transfer made on a digital platform except from a few exempted transfers.
It is obvious the government is hard strapped for cash and need the expected US$1 billion revenue from e-levy to turn things round.
But there is no clear indication that the Minority in Parliament and the greater majority of Ghanaians will support the implementation of the e-levy, and yet the implementation guidelines issued by GRA seem to suggest