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Opposition frowns as parliament approves ‘controversial’ E-Levy in Ghana

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The legislature in Ghana has approved a new contested tax on electronic transactions which will introduce a 1.5 percent taxation on electronic money transfers and according to the government, help raise $900m in much-needed revenue.

The new tax, which is known as the E-levy has sparked widespread popular criticism in the West African country.

Ghana’s Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Ken Ofori-Atta in the 2022 budget statement and economic policy that was presented before parliament in November 2021  revealed the government’s intention to tax all electronic transactions in the informal sector to cover the tax net.

Opposition legislators however staged a walkout of debates while the majority went on to pass the bill into act.

 “The Electronic Transfer Levy duly read today after the consideration stage has been passed,” Alban Bagbin, the speaker of parliament said.

Before they walking out of the debate however, opposition legislators dismissed the new tax as unfair.

A lawmaker from the opposition, Isaac Adongo said “the people have roundly rejected the e-levy and our constituents have told us to reject it, so why is the president imposing it on us?”

“What is the crime of Ghanaians that now the government wants to use their pockets as collateral?” Adongo remarked.

The newly passed E-levy would cover all inward remittances (which would be paid by the recipient), all person-to-person (P2P) mobile transactions (which includes sending of funds to another account, payment for goods and services, payment of utilities, all POS/Merchant payments.

A number of African countries have expanded the scope of their indirect taxes to cover digital services, but only a few have thus far implemented some form of direct digital services tax that applies to non-residents with no physical presence in their respective countries.

Earlier, this month, africanewswatch.com reported that Rwanda like Nigeria and Zimbabwe announced plans to tax online services and digital companies consumed within the country.

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Dangote Refinery in crude supply negotiations with Libya

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To get around issues with local supply, Nigeria’s Dangote refinery is in negotiations with Libya to get crude for the 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) plant. A senior official stated that the refinery would also look for Angolan oil.

The $20 billion refinery, the largest in Africa, was constructed on the outskirts of Lagos by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote. Its purpose is to eliminate Nigeria’s reliance on imported fuels due to inadequate refining capacity.

Since starting operations in January, Dangote has not been able to obtain sufficient crude supplies from Nigeria, the largest oil producer in Africa, beset by poor investment, theft, and pipeline vandalism. Dangote has had to buy petroleum from the US and Brazil, among other places.

“We are talking to Libya about importing crude,” Dangote refinery senior executive Devakumar Edwin told Reuters late on Saturday. “We will talk to Angola and some other African countries.”

He added that foreign traders and oil corporations were among the largest purchasers of Dangote’s gasoil, which was mostly being exported, but he would not elaborate on the specifics of the discussions.

“The biggest off-takers are the two big traders Trafigura and Vitol and BP and, to some extent, even TotalEnergies. But all of them are saying they are taking it to offshore,” Edwin said.

According to traders and shipping statistics, Dangote is displacing European refiners in the gasoil market by increasing exports to West Africa.

By 2050, the nuclear sector wants to treble its capacity.

According to Edwin, Dangote’s oil trading division was running, employing people in Lagos and London to assist with product sales and supply management. The intended trading arm was initially revealed by Reuters in March.

In a recent dispute with Dangote, Nigeria’s upstream authority claimed that the fuel’s sulphur concentration exceeded the mandated 200 parts per million (ppm). Rejecting that claim, Aliko Dangote stated that sulfur levels had been higher at the beginning of production but have since dropped to 88 parts per million (ppm) and would reach 10 parts per million in early August as output increases.

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As inflation slows down, Angolan central bank maintains stable interest rate

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The central bank of Angola maintained its main interest rate at 19.5% on Friday, noting a possible short-term improvement in the supply of necessities and a possible decrease in inflation.

To contain growing inflation, which has reached 30%, the Bank of Angola hiked its main rate by 50 basis points at its most recent monetary policy meeting in May after raising it by 100 basis points in March.

The annual inflation rate increased last month, from 30.16% in May to 31.00%, although at a slower rate than in prior months.

“The decision (on Friday) was motivated by the prospect of a slowdown in the rate of price growth and an improvement in the supply of essential goods,” said Central Bank Governor Manuel Tiago Dias.

“If current conditions prevail from August onwards, we predict a slowdown in year-on-year inflation,” Tiago Dias added.

Since the middle of last year, inflation has been increasing in the nation that produces oil in Africa.

By September, the central bank will make its next move on monetary policy.

 

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