Vodafone Ghana And Ghanaians Called For The Introduction Of The E-Levy

The e-levy tax will only fail or be reversed when the data says it should be reversed after the tax’s implementation. The tax will not be reversed because of the noise people will make.

How did Vodafone Ghana and Ghanaians call for the e-levy?

The Vice-President, H.E Dr. Bawumia will always say the ‘data’. Data does not lie when analysed properly.

The data says Ghanaians will pay the e-levy no matter the percentage charged.

The data that will inform the need for reversal of the tax will not be based on one person’s account but on a general or collective or group account.

The only reason the e-levy will not be reversed is because Ghanaians called for the e-levy. Otherwise, it will be reversed just like the way the Communication Service tax increase in the past was reversed.

Taxes are good for national development. However, taxes that are charged on the capital of businesses are very bad. E-levy could be one such tax charged mostly on the capital of small businesses who can not save part of their E-levy tax if they decide to legally evade the tax by taking transport to where their business partners are. Unlike big businesses, who can send a staff with a vehicle to their bankers to transfer funds over the counter by filling both withdrawal and deposit forms at the same. Also, big businesses can afford to send their staff to their business partners for goods and services and still save part of the evaded e-levy. A lot of tax experts both locally and internationally have classified the e-levy as a bad or nuisance tax. The bill to give backing to the e-levy which was supposed to be passed by the legislative arm of government resulted in fisticuffs in the chamber of parliament. The executive arm of government has to kneejackingly organise a national consultation fora after the parliamentary fights.

The bill was finally passed controversially on the 29th March, 2022 without the supposed national consultation conferences taking place in all the regions of Ghana. The e-levy bill which was approved under questionable atmosphere was assented to by the president of the republic of Ghana in a record time of almost forty-eight hours (48hrs) after its passage. Three minority MPs have since filed a suit at the supreme court of Ghana challenging the voting quorum that passed the e-levy bill. Until the court case is settled, the e-levy is bound to breath some life into the finances of the Akuffo-Addo government effective 1st May, 2022. The great writer Chinua Achebe said in his ‘Things Fall Apart’ novel that ‘a toad does not run in a daytime for nothing’. For a government who ran down an attempt by the previous government to charge a tax on only the fees charged by mobile money service providers to now decide to tax the whole amount to be transferred by customers, could be a toad chased by something only they can see, no matter how they explain.

Vodafone Ghana introduced a zero-rated charge on mobile money transfers through their network for more than a year. The zero rate charge was to draw customers to their platform, probably from the most dominant mobile money service provider in Ghana, MTN. The question is, what was the outcome of the promotion? What percentage transaction increase occurred on the Vodacash platform? If there was an increase, was it significant? Did the Vodacash promotion have any negative effect on MTN transactions or if MTN transaction volumes and values kept going up significantly higher? The Vice-President of Ghana, Dr Bawumia, who loves data and figures and the one in charge of the government’s Economic Management Team, would definitely be interested in the data generated on the mobile money platforms for MTN, who charges fees and other Telcos offering zero-rated charges on transfers through their platforms. A leader of a government’s Economic Management Team who is under siege to dig themselves out of a ditch will definitely not have mercy for anyone.

So, when the data say there was no significant drop in the volumes recorded at MTN during the period Vodafone was offering free charge, who is responsible or irresponsible? The belief is that the data confirmed that Ghanaians do not change products or services providers who offer less quality and/or higher prices no matter the variables involved. Not even because scarce money resources are involved. In the recent past, voice minutes given on the MTN mash-up product were reduced from over 300 minutes to a little over 100 minutes, yet nobody got worried and/or there was no mass exodus to competitive products from other telcos even though the quality of mobile networks is the same in the neighborhood, household data suggest.

There is no need to consider poor service delivery from any service provider to switch for the better. I still have my Glo network sim number, which was moved from all telecom networks in Ghana and is now finally back on the Vodafone network since mobile number operability was introduced. The question now is, have you ever changed a service or product for the better for a prolonged period, even when the former provider did not notice your absence?

To help reverse the e-levy, it will not be an individual’s action alone but a collective one. However, the individual must act without checking what others are doing. When the data informs the government Economic Management Team to reverse the e-levy tax, they will not hesitate. All governments thrive on data and care about only data and not human beings.

The short form of the issue is that blind loyalty is the root cause of the E-levy and political entitlement by the political class. And that is the reason it is difficult for a political third force to emerge in the country. As an Economic Fighters League (EFL) member, I hope the lessons of e-levy will motivate well-meaning Ghanaians to vote for any EFL candidate when they stand for elections in their constituencies and not wonder about whether others will vote for such candidates. The goal of the EFL is to seek a change in Ghana’s constitution. Trying to lobby alone or force those who benefit from the current constitution will only be a wasteful venture. It is for this reason EFL wish to present parliamentary candidates for national elections, without presidential candidates, to take a seat at the table for action. Imagine the EFL has only one (1) MP in the current parliament.

By: Anonymous

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