The government’s proposed 1.75 per cent E-levy is a lazy and backward way of mobilising money to run Ghana, economist Kwame Pianim has told Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta. 

“First of all, I think it is a very backward step”, Mr Pianim said, noting that it will erase all the gains made by the government to digitalise the economy.

He said mobile money, for instance, “has brought financial inclusion to people in the villages who cannot go to the bank and open a bank account”.

“You know what MTN and others are doing? They go to the bank and open an E-wallet for you. We don’t control it: they do. They count it as if it is their money. It is not their money”, he said.

The levy is projected to raise about GHS6.9 billion a year.

However, Mr PianiM said: “A little bit more consultation would have shown the government that don’t go there”, adding: “You want to raise GHS6 billion? Is GHS6 billion worth undermining the … effort that this government has put in digitalising things?”

“It is a lazy way of sitting” in the Ministry of Finance’s air-conditioned office and saying, “Oh I want money, oh let me grab this”. 

“The Ministry of Finance is not a budget and expenditure ministry; it is for development; it is for finance. So, you are looking at what will grow the economy, not what will give you money …” he told Accra-based Asaase FM.