Everything is now in place for Ghana’s Electronic Transactions Levy (E-Levy) to begin on Sunday (May 1). This comes after a lot of people in Ghana have said they don’t like the plan that the country’s finance minister made in November 2021.
Some industry stakeholders welcome the charge, while others feel it will have a detrimental influence on digital payments and will jeopardize Ghana’s digitalization efforts. A debate about the levy’s introduction sparked a clash in parliament in December of last year. It doesn’t matter that the Ghana Revenue Authority says it doesn’t have the right systems or tools to start collecting a levy of 1.5% on daily electronic transfers. Banks and specialized deposit-taking institutions (DFIs), electronic money issuers (EMIs), and telecommunications companies (telcos) say that they have.
In separate interviews with the state-owned newspaper Daily Graphic on Thursday, the heads of the agencies said they expect the implementation to go well and gave the green light. Following the drop in the rate from 1.75 to 1.5 percent and the delay in implementation, the GRA’s Commissioner-General, Dr Owusu-Amoah, said the income target for the E-Levy had been lowered to GH4.5 billion from the initial GH6.9 billion.
The GRA announced its intention to begin the operationalization of the E-levy in a modified-phased manner in a statement on Thursday (April 28). People who charge fees aren’t ready to connect with the E-Levy management system, according to a GRA study.
All charges will be borne by the sender once the implementation is complete, with the exception of inward remittances, which will be borne by the receiver. According to the Finance Minister, overall digital transactions in Ghana are expected to exceed GH500 billion (US $81 billion) in 2020, up from GH78 billion (US $12.5 billion) in 2016.
Ghana will not be the first African government to charge a fee for online transactions. Across Africa, some countries have struggled to implement such a charge, while others have been successful. In Uganda, the tax on electronic transactions was heavily criticized, so it was decreased to 0.5 percent for withdrawals only.