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E-levy regressive; national dialogue needed on Ghana’s return to IMF – Bokpin

Economist and Finance Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), Prof. Godfred Bokpin, wants the government to tread cautiously in its pursuit to raise revenue to salvage the economy.

He says ongoing discussions on the imposition of the Electronic Transaction Levy and the country’s possible return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be well-thought through.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Prof. Godfred Bokpin, who is strongly in opposition to the E-levy advocated for home-grown solutions, also called for a national consultative dialogue on whether Ghana should fall back to the IMF in these crucial moments.

“I don’t support E-levy because it is not the way to go. It’s regressive and even if it’s passed, it’s not Ghana’s solution. But for going back to IMF, let’s have a national conversation around it. Let’s have a home-grown way with clear benchmark indicators and requirements. That cannot support this large government and wasteful expenditures. This is the kind of home-grown solution we are talking about because we can’t largely leave out the inefficiencies and talk about E-levy as the only solution. No, we have to look at it holistically.”

In the wake of talks of the E-levy to generate revenue domestically, some have suggested the government opts for an IMF program rather than the passage of the tax policy.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration has indicated that despite Ghana’s fiscal crisis, it is not settling on returning to the IMF for financial support, but a former New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for New Juaben South, and a one-time Chair of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah, believes heading to the IMF is the best option under the circumstances.

Prof. Godfred Bokpin  also makes a point that both options on the table are retrogressive and tend to negatively impact the vulnerable in the long term.

“I am also not against totally going back to the IMF, it’s probably the last resort. We all do acknowledge that we need revenue, but E-levy is a much more lazy approach and one that does not recognize the realities on the ground, and we want to use E-levy to further depress the poor. It’s unfortunate. Ghana has been to the IMF more than 15 times and If you mismanage your economy, and you go to the IMF, it comes at a price because the financial adjustments will also marginalize the poor.”

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