Ghana set to implement electronic levy (E-Levy) on May 1

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All is now set for the implementation of Ghana’s Electronic Transactions Levy (E-Levy) to kick off on Sunday (May 1).

This comes after several criticisms from a large portion of the Ghanaian population since its announcement in November 2021 by the country’s finance minister.

Some industry stakeholders have supported the levy but others believe this would have a negative impact on digital payments and also affect the digitization journey that Ghana is championing.

In December last year, a debate on the introduction of the levy triggered a fight in parliament.

That notwithstanding, implementing agencies of the levy: the Ghana Revenue Authority, banks and specialised deposit-taking institutions (DFIs), electronic money issuers (EMIs) and telecommunications companies (telcos) say they have put in place the relevant systems and mechanisms to start collecting 1.5 per cent as a levy on daily electronic transfers.

In separate interviews with state-owned newspaper, Daily Graphic, on Thursday, heads of the agencies said they expect the implementation to be smooth.

The Commissioner-General of the GRA, Dr Owusu-Amoah said the revenue target for the E-Levy had been revised downwards to GH¢4.5 billion from the initial GH¢6.9 billion, following the reduction in the rate from 1.75 to 1.5 per cent and the delay in the implementation.

in a statement on Thursday (April 28), the GRA has announced its decision to commence the operationalization of the E-levy in a modified-phased approach.

This follows the results of an assessment carried out by the GRA to test the general readiness of some charging entities to integrate with the E-Levy management system.

-Breakdown-

Once the implementation begins, all charges will be borne by the sender except in the case of inward remittances where the charge will be borne by the recipient.

According to the Finance Minister, the country’s total digital transactions for 2020 were estimated to be over GH¢500 billion (about US$81 billion) compared to GH¢78 billion (US$12.5 billion) in 2016. 

-The African situation-

Ghana will not be the first African country to implement a levy on digital transactions. Across Africa, some countries have failed whiles others have become successful in the introduction of such a levy.

In the case of Uganda, tax on electronic transactions faced a lot of backlashes and it was reduced to 0.5 percent applied to withdrawals only.

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