January 31, 2022

Deputy Minority Leader Dr. James Klutse Avedzi said the Majority side led by its Leader Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu sense danger and made a U-turn when they wanted the E-Levy taken on Friday, January 28, 2022 night despite assurance that it would be taken this week.

According to him it is known that the Dome/Kwabenya lawmaker Sarah Adowa Safo is not in the country to shore up their numbers to 138, and 137 to 137 per Article 104 means the motion would be lost.

“That would be the end unless they reintroduce it, which is what they are trying to avoid.”

“If you look at the business statement, E-Levy is for business next week, Wednesday, February 2, 2022. Most of us were surprised when the majority leader came back and said there is negotiation ongoing that we should do the E-Levy,  “ Friday evening for some of us what happened last year we do not want that to happen”.

 So we prefer that Speaker himself sit in the chair; ones he is there we can debate the motion very well and take a vote.

When he said we should take it, as minority we were prepared, we had our numbers in the chamber, we wanted to debate full and take a vote. I do not know what they saw to change their mind so they are the party in government and control the business on the floor, he stated.

“We want the finance Minister to come to zero percent so 1.5 is nothing; we are against the principle in the first place, if we accept it then we can be talking about the rate, and our position is the rate should be zero”.

“Speaker is having his medical treatment and he should not at the peril of his life wait for what is happening, we should give him the benefit of doubt, he should get treatment, we need him.”

And if he travels this weekend he would not be available this week. My advice to the majority side on E-Levy is that they should wait till Speaker comes “we want the speaker to preside then we would vote on the matter”.

Again when that is done, the end result would be a decision of the House whether the motion would be lost or pass; we want the Speaker to be there, he said in an interview with members of the Parliamentary press corps.

“We do not want any of the deputy speakers to be in the chair so that what happened in 2021 resulting in fighting among MPs to happen again”.

Dr. Avedzi disagreed with the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta that there would be a disaster should the E-Levy fail to pass stating that as nine million Ghanaians earn income by law they are supposed to pay tax.

“So if currently two point four million Ghanaians are paying tax, the remaining six point six million Ghanaians should be worked at; systems should be put in place, people earn income and pay the right tax on it. That would bring more money to government.”

The former chairman of the Finance Committee pointed out that ”the lazy way of collecting revenue for government is to sit in your office even when you are drinking beer you are laughing because someone is making transfer somewhere and it is coming to the consolidated fund”.

In addition, he noted that the Auditor General’s report should be looked at to prevent the country from losing and save money, and talked about the exemption being granted. He stated that with the One District One factory programme, a lot of money can be saved there; “that is the way to go and not the lazy way of being in the office and expecting people to transfer money”.

He said the E-levy is something like pick-pocketing; picking money from our pocket illegally.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com