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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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African leaders want more efforts to promote regional industrilisation

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Leaders across the continent of Africa at a recent meeting in Niger’s capital Niamey have called for a doubling of efforts to promote industrialization in the region.

The call came during an Extraordinary Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification in the Central African country.

Some of the leaders present were, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The leaders noted sectors critical to industrialisation like agriculture, agro-industry, health, education, infrastructure, and especially energy, and urged increased private sector participation in the space.

The summit later held a discussion on trade with a focus on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Africa is the world’s least industrialized, the continent commemorates Africa Industrialization Day every November.

The African Development Bank Group, in its November 2022 index posits that industrialisation is central to Africa’s development prospects. With its young labour force, abundant natural resources, and fast-growing internal markets. Africa has the potential to become the next global frontier for industrial development.

 

 

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Ivory Coast aims regional shipping hub, completes $953 million container terminal

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West African country, Ivory Coast is making waves at becoming a regional shipping hub as it has completed construction of a second container terminal at its main port in Abidjan.

The project, financed by China’s Eximbank by 85% and 15% by the Ivorian state costs about 596 billion CFA francs ($953 million).

The new container terminal, called Cote d’Ivoire Terminal (CIT), started operations on Nov. 1 but was officially unveiled at a press conference on Friday. It is able to receive large ships from Asia, Europe, and America that previously had to land goods in South Africa, transferring them to smaller ships to reach West Africa.

The technical director of the terminal Andre N’Doli, remarked “we are no longer a second port. We are becoming a hub,”

“In addition to national traffic, we will handle traffic from other ports that cannot accommodate large vessels,” he told reporters.

According to official data, there has been growth in recent years in the country’s maritime sector. Ivory Coast shipped goods worth USD 12,717 million in 2019, an -8.5% dip as compared to the previous year.

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