GRASAG distances itself from NUGS President’s endorsement of 2022 Budget

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National President of GRASG, Ms. Heartwill Selasi Tamekloe
National President of GRASG, Ms. Heartwill Selasi Tamekloe

The Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) has distanced itself from the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) endorsement of 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.

In a disclaimer issued by the National President of GRASG, Ms. Heartwill Selasi Tamekloe in a response to NUGS President, Yiadom Boakye Emmanuel’s presor on approval of the 2022 budget Statement and Economic Policy, stating that, the “2022 budget addresses our concerns; Parliament Should Approve It”

The Association said, the attention of the office of the GRASAG-NATIONAL President has been drawn to a Press Release by the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) with the above subject dated 25th November, 2021, and co-signed by the Financial Controller of the Graduate Students Association of Ghana, Mr. Jacob Yeboah Boamah.

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Mr. Yeboah Boamah is reported to have signed the said Press Release as a rep of GRASAG-NATIONAL on behalf of the President of the Association.

Ms. Heartwill Selasi Tamekloe, the office of the President wishes to make it clear that the release was signed without the consent of the president nor any of the persons constitutionally mandated
to carry out such duties on behalf of the President of the Association nor that of the National Executive Committee of GRASAG-NATIONAL.

The President therefore dissociates herself from this Press Release in no uncertain terms.

As student leaders, our core mandate is to amplify the concerns of our constituents and the youth of Ghana as a whole. On the contrary, this statement from NUGS however falls to amplify the real concerns of the teaming Graduate Students and youth about the E-levy, which is the major worry of all graduate students across the country. We find this to be very worrying and unfortunate.

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This press release therefore focuses on the concerns collated from the students and youth front concerning the effects of this levy on the Ghanaian students and youth as a whole.

After a careful study and analysis of the 2022 budget statement and economic policy proposals, and isolating portions or the budget that relates to Ghanaian students and youth in general, and after a broad consultation with our various students and young people across the country about their concerns on the E-levy, the following concerns were raised:

1. Possible Reduction in Electronic Transactions and Negative Impact on Digitalization Drive.

This levy, according to government is supposed to widen the tax net. This stems from the fact that, Mobile Money transaction volumes have sky rocketed hitting an estimated GH¢589 billion in 2021 alone. A ceteris paribus (holding all other factors constant) analysis of this figure puts revenue the E-levy of 1.75% would have raised in 2021 at GH¢10.3 Billion. This figure is far in excess of the
GH¢73 MIlilon which was being realized from Road Tolls yearly.

This assumption of revenue that would have been raked in, is however misplaced. This is because when the price of a commodity, in this case electronic transactions goes up. demand for that commodity will fall. This therefore will move most Ghanaians who would have usually relied on electronic payments for certain transactions, back to doing cash transactions in order to avoid this tax. This will therefore have a negative effect on our cash-lite drive as a country.

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2. Negative Impact on Young Businesses

The avoidance of electronic transaction will have a negative effect on online businesses mostly owned by the youth, who rely heavily on electronic payment methods. This levy will make their
products uncompetitive as they will become more expensive in the eyes of the general public who will have to bear the additional 1.75% levy.

Additionally, most of these online businesses order goods from online e-commerce portals like Kiiku. Jiji. Jumia, Phlenu, etc. They also make payments for these goods using either mobile money or debits cards. This levy will therefore increase their cost of doing business. This will essentially be taxing their Capital instead of their profits. This we think defeats the purpose of the Youstart Initiative.

3. Double Taxation

Most of the youth in formal employment are already taxed on the salaries they are paid. Most of them rely on electronic means to withdraw their salaries from their bank accounts using mobile
banking apps, USSDs and Mobile Money push and pull. This has been a cost efficient means since they will not have to travel to the various banks or ATMs to withdraw their salaries.

Let us assume that someone receives a net salary of GH¢1000 which has already been taxed. He
or she will have to pay an additional e-levy of GH¢17.50 and a Mobile Money Commission of GH¢10. This comes to a total of GH¢27.50 and reduces the salary to GH¢972.50.

This person then decides to send GH¢200 via MOMO to his or her mother in the village and is charged another e-levy of GH¢3.50 and a MOMO commission of GH¢2. Does this not amount to double, if not riple taxation?

4. Wasting of Productive hours in Banking Halls

Many banks in recent times have taken steps to decongest their banking halls by coming up with electronic solutions for almost everything. People can now bank on the go and in the comfort of their homes without the stress of forming long queues in banking halls. The imposition of this tax will however lead people back into the banking halls as they will seek to avoid this levy. This will lead to people congesting the banking halls again and wasting productive time in banking halls in
order to reduce their cost of doing business which the levy imposes.

Based on the above concerns, the Graduate Students’ Association of Ghana (GRASAG) would like to make the following statements concerning the 2022 budget to government as well as the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, who are scheduled to make a vote on the budget on Friday
26th November, 2021 to the Ghanaian student and the public in general.

a. Parliament, as a matter of urgency should scrutinize and reject the 2022 budget as part of its oversight responsibility since the budget fails to address the concerns of the Ghanaian students and youth.

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b. We equally demand that the Minister of Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta should withdraw the 2022 budget statement and economic policy proposals and ensure that the above concerns are considered before it is re-presented to Parliament for consideration.

c. We would also, through this medium urge students and the teaming youth of this country to remain calm their nerves and tone down their anger at this e-levy while Parliament exercises its oversight responsibility. We believe Parliament will do the needful.

SOURCE: Coverghana.com.gh

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