’Too high’ E-levy can ‘discourage’ e-transactions – PNC to government

The People’s National Convention (PNC) claims the introduction of the E-Levy, “(a very high rate) coupled with a proposed 15% increase in fees and charges by state institutions, would not ease the suffering of the masses”.

Reacting to the 2022 budget, which proposes a 1.75 per cent levy on all electronic transactions including Mobile Money, the PNC, in a statement signed by General Secretary Janet Nabla dated Friday, 19 November 2021, said: “We contend, as stated on paragraph 31” of the budget thus: ‘This Budget is intentional about Building a Sustainable Entrepreneurial Nation through fiscal consolidation and Job Creation. This may be an uncomfortable transition but we are a people who think deeply and we must progress and become a people who also make things for ourselves and the World. We must embrace this challenge of becoming a vibrant entrepreneurial nation’, that “the uncomfortable transition must not be one that could break the camel’s back”.

In the party’s view, “the rate is too high and stands the chance of discouraging citizens from transacting businesses electronically”.

It added: “We recommend that the government should negotiate with the telecommunication companies to either abolish or reduce the charges for persons initiating transaction but those who withdraw cash using mobile transaction should pay the full levy”.

The party said “Ghanaians should not be taxed for being efficient in going cashless. Government must sustain the increasing usage of MoMo by the huge percentage of the unbanked Ghanaians; making it more attractive with affordable charges and not exorbitant ones. This underscores the policy of digitisation and inclusiveness”.

Read the PNC’s full statement below:

PEOPLE’S NATIONAL CONVENTION (PNC) STATEMENT ON THE 2022 BUDGET

PNC receives the 2022 budget statement with mixed feelings as many other organisations and the general populace do. In the budget, there is some good news whereas there are equally bad ones. Sustaining the flagship programs such as the Free SHS, LEAP, digitisation agenda, jobs and development initiatives such as the NABCo programme, YEA, Youth in Afforestation programme and NAELP is good news.

Another good news is the introduction of a new programme, the YouStart initiative. As reported on paragraph 101 of the 2022 budget statement: ‘The YouStart initiative which proposes to use GH¢1 billion each year to catalyze an ecosystem to create 1 million jobs and in partnership with the Finance Institutions and Development Partners, raise another 2 Billion Cedis. In addition, our local Banks have agreed to a package that will result in increasing their SME portfolio up to GHC 5 billion over the next 3 years. This, Mr Speaker results in an unprecedented historic 10 Bn Cedis commitment to the private sector and YouStart over the next 3 years.’

Should this initiative be implemented religiously and better than the former ones, it will go a long way to alleviate the suffering of the teeming youth of the country.

Business Incubation Centers must be established by implementing agencies to review and assess proposals. Selection for funding must be devoid of party politics. Upon selection, financing should be done by the banks (logistic financing) to minimise the risk of misappropriation and non-payment of loans to successful applicants.

These new business owners must be coached and mentored, over time, to ensure sustainability and value for money invested.

Figures regarding the macroeconomics variables such as the inflation rate, debt-to-GDP, the primary balance amongst others have not been favourable with the finance minister attributing that to the wrath of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy.

This assertion questions his earlier claim of the strength and the resilience of the economy before the pandemic.

As a country, we are in difficult times; cost of living is rising, farmers are bitterly lamenting of inadequate basic farm inputs, traders are complaining of the high cost of doing business; the list can go on, and for that, we expect prudent measures that would alleviate the suffering of the masses.

The introduction of the E-Levy (a very high rate) coupled with a proposed 15% increase in fees and charges by state institutions would not ease the suffering of the masses.

We contend, as stated in paragraph 31: ‘This Budget is intentional about Building a Sustainable Entrepreneurial Nation through fiscal consolidation and Job Creation. This may be an uncomfortable transition but we are a people who think deeply and we must progress and become a people who also make things for ourselves and the World. We must embrace this challenge of becoming a vibrant entrepreneurial nation.’

The uncomfortable transition must not be one that could break the camel’s back. The rate is too high and stands the chance of discouraging citizens from transacting businesses electronically.

We recommend that the government should negotiate with the telecommunication companies to either abolish or reduce the charges for persons initiating transactions but those who withdraw cash using mobile transactions should pay the full levy.

Ghanaians should not be taxed for being efficient in going cashless. Government must sustain the increasing usage of momo by the huge percentage of the unbanked Ghanaians; making it more attractive with affordable charges and not exorbitant ones. This underscores the policy of digitisation and inclusiveness.

Admittedly, the road toll collection points on our various roads are a nuisance, cause unnecessary traffic, and make the movement of goods and rendering of service from one point to another very costly, yet removing them should take into consideration the revenue collectors at the toll booth.

The PNC demands that the revenue collectors should be put on alternative livelihood programmes as a number of them are vulnerable women and physically challenged persons.

The local assemblies must engage the affected hawkers in providing alternative markets for them.

We further demand that the government be more transparent and accountable to the Ghanaian populace with respect to the various roads that will be fixed through the collection of this levy.

We assure Ghanaians that a future PNC government shall institute strong measures to plug leakages in the economy in order to increase revenue mobilisation. The PNC shall equally pursue a programme to rope in more working Ghanaians to pay direct taxes, thereby reducing the tendency to indirectly levy Ghanaians on almost all essential goods and services.

Again, the PNC shall prioritise its expenditure to stimulate growth and ensure the local production of our basic needs, thereby cutting down on imports and implementing pro-poor policies to eradicate poverty.

Source: Modern Ghana

CAF appoints Ethiopian referee for finals of CAF Women Champions League

The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) has appointed Ethiopia’s Lidya Tafesse for the finals of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) TotalEnergies Women Champions League between Hasaacas Ladies and Sundowns on Friday, November 19.

The 41-year old FIFA referee would be assisted by Queency Clodia Victorie from Mauritius (Assistant Referee I), Mimisen Agatha Iyorhe from Nigeria (Assistant Referee II) and Shahenda Saad Saad Ali Elmaghrabi from Egypt (Fourth Official) and Lidwine Pelagie Rakotozafinoro from Madagascar (Reserve Assistant Referee).

Uganda’s Aisha Nalule would work as the Match Commissioner while Tempa N’dah Francois from Benin acts as Referee Assessor.

Other officials appointed for the match include:

Kelly Athanasie Mukandanga – General Coordinator – Rwanda

Natogoma Clementine Toure – Technical Study Group – Côte D’Ivoire

Yvonne Namai Mukabana – Marketing Officer – Kenya

Inas Mazhar – Media Officer – Egypt

Zakarihya Diabate – Security Officer – Côte D’Ivoire

Bouchra Karboubi – Video Assistant Referee – Morocco

Fatiha Jermoumi – Assistant VAR – Morocco

Zakia Bartegi – Doping Control – Tunisia

Samira Naa Korkoi Ghartey – Assistant General Coordinator – Ghana

Source: Ghana News Agency

HRAC unveils domestic and gender-based violence project in Aburi

Aburi (E/R),– The Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) has unveiled a two-year project on Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (DGBV) in Aburi in the Akuapem South Municipality to help protect and educate victims of abuse on their rights.

The Project, beginning from September 2021 to August 2022, is funded by Karen Takacs Women’s Leadership Fund of the Crossroads International and seeks to address DGBV issues through women empowerment and advocacy.

An inception meeting was organised on Thursday to discuss implementation of the project, bringing together stakeholders from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection; Ghana Police Service; Amnesty International Ghana; Department of Social Welfare and Community Development; Domestic Violence Secretariat and Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations.

Others also came from The Women Alliance; National Youth Authority, Market Women Association, Islamic Mission and the Ghana Private Road Transport.

Addressing the participants, Ms Selasi E. A. Tsegah, the Executive Director of HRAC, said the project would serve two purposes- to help educate victims of DGBV on their rights to report and also to gather statistical data on DGBV in Ghana.

She said a hashtag #SeeAbuseReportAbuse has been created on social media platforms to help respond quickly to reported cases of abuse and to inform citizens on issues about the project.

Mr George Owoo, the Programmes Manager of HRAC, said most victims of abuse chose to stay quiet on their plight because they were either ignorant about the law, or unaware of the right stakeholders to seek help from.

He also said the process involved in finding justice was very vigorous in Ghana, adding that, it discourages victims to take the first step to report their cases.

“The major problem is availability and affordability of mechanisms, proximity and the slow grinding wheel of the judicial service,” he added.

Ms Angeline Nagertey, the Akuapem South Municipal Director of the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development, appealed to the judicial service to handle rape cases behind closed doors.

She elaborated that most victims of rape and domestic abuse refused to report because of the processes and societal stigma when such reported cases landed in the public sphere.

Mr Samuel Agbotsey, the Fundraising Coordinator of Amnesty International Ghana, talked about the sustainability of the project to address DGBV concerns in the country.

He called for the need to carry out continuous public education to keep the project in operation and address DGBV holistically.

Ms Lydia Akuateh, the Akuapem South Municipal Coordinating Director, assured stakeholders of support and also advised victims of DGBV to muster the courage and report perpetrators to the appropriate authorities.

Source: Ghana News Agency

I am not an “unconcerned jailor”- AG

Accra,- Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, says he cares about the welfare of persons serving sentences in prisons and not an “unconcerned jailor”.

‘‘The Attorney-General is not just an unconcerned jailor who ceases to care about the plight of persons serving various sentences in prison or even remand prisoners, thus, the purpose of this visit is to familiarise ourselves with the conditions of detention in this country so as to inform policy measures to ease congestion and generally improve conditions of detention,’’ he said.

The Minister said this when he paid an official visit to the Senior Correctional Centre in Accra to acquaint himself with conditions at the Centre.

Mr Dame said the prisons had been mandated to serve the primary purpose of reforming the detained during the period of detention, therefore, they were supposed to be provided with conditions for learning and improving their education.

He stated that the failure of the Prisons Council to discharge its constitutional mandate had been attributed to the overcrowding situation in the prisons, which a few interventions had addressed partially.

The interventions include the ‘Justice for All Programme’, which he said had contributed significantly to the release of various prisoners on remand, but could not solve the issue entirely.

Mr Dame said his office was working towards the introduction of the amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act, 1960 (Act 30), to integrate plea bargaining firmly into the trial of cases and the passage of an Alternative Sentencing Act, which would benefit the criminal justice system extensively.

He donated items, including toilet rolls, drinks, bags of rice, detergents, and boxes of medicines to the prison.

Mr Isaac K. Egyir, Director General, Ghana Prisons Service, described the visit by the Office of the AG to the prisons as timely as efforts were underway to reposition the Prisons to meet international standards.

He said such visits would help to ensure that human rights standards were upheld in the management of the prisons and in the treatment of inmates in line with international human rights instruments relating to prisoners, notably the Mandela Rules.

‘‘As a stakeholder in the criminal justice system, we will continue to work together with the other stakeholders for the better administration of criminal justice in the country,” he assured and appealed for the establishment of a central electronic case management system, with defined operational procedures, common to all criminal justice Institutions to help streamline processes to guide criminal justice agencies and establish responsibilities and guidelines for efficient service delivery.

He called for training packages for prison staff to enhance their professional capacities and support to electronically streamline database for effective linkages between the prison establishments and the Headquarters to facilitate speedy access to inmates’ records.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GPL: Bechem United appoint Gonzalez Machado Alfredo Carlos as technical director

Ghana Premier League club, Bechem United, has appointed Gonzalez Machado Alfredo Carlos as the new technical director of the club.

The 53-year-old is taking over the club with his rich experience in football management having worked with Kalatan FC, Pro Duta and CA Atenas among other clubs.

The Uruguayan has signed a two-year deal with the Bechem-based side to take charge of the youth teams (Under-17 and 19) as well as work as the technical director for the senior side.

“The experienced Uruguayan gaffer has been tasked to head the youth teams (U-17 & 19) and also serve as the technical director for the senior team”, the statement said.

“The services of Alfredo are in line with the club’s pursuit of changing lives through football and education through sports as a means of equipping the young talents with the requisite skills to make them competitive on the world stage.”

Source: Modern Ghana

It would be unpatriotic for NDC caucus to oppose E-Levy — John Kumah

A Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. John Kumah has said it will be unpatriotic for his colleague Members of Parliament on the Minority side to oppose the 1.7% E-Levy to be introduced by government in 2022.

He questions how the Minority expected government to generate the needed revenue to develop the country when over 28million Ghanaians are not paying tax.

Speaking in an interview on Joy News’ AM show with Israel Laryea he explained that the positives of the E-Levy far outweigh the propaganda being chorused by the Minority.

“In order to avoid the evasion of taxes, let us adopt a process that reaches out to everybody and help government to raise enough to address all these problems, that’s exactly what we have done.

“We need to also let people know that we are seeking the get more from the rich and take less from the poor,” he stated.

He intimated that encouraging people to carry physical money on them would mean putting their lives in danger.

The Deputy Minister admitted that government understands the difficulty the E-Levy policy would bring but quizzes, “is there anywhere in the world where a government tax policy has not brought burden on the people?”

He added that there is the need to help build the nation collectively to contribute by way of paying tax.

“The monies we get from elsewhere, it is a contribution of their citizens’ taxes that they give to us either in loans or in grants, so we should be bold to say that we will build our country. This is our contribution, even if it is hard, it is our bigger contribution,” he insisted.

Source: Modern Ghana

Dr Adade Williams is guest speaker for 2021 Young African Leaders Summit

Accra,- Dr Portia Adade Williams, a Research Scientist at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), will be the guest speaker at this year’s Young African Leaders Summit to held in Accra from November 25 – 27.

Dr Williams, with the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) of CSIR, will be contributing to the discussion on climate change and would be joined by Mrs Justina A. Onumah, a Research Fellow.

A statement from the organisers said the summit would be hosted at the Accra International Conference Centre on the theme: “African Youth Transforming Vision and Ideas into Action”.

It is expected to empower youth-led solutions and provide a unique platform for youth leaders and aspiring youth leaders to exchange experience and ideas and empower them to possess the tools needed to realise their vision for a better community.

The Summit would also create a platform where about 200 young leaders and aspiring young leaders in Africa would discuss and formulate solutions to some of the continent’s pressing and emerging problems.

The delegates from all the African countries, would discuss issues ranging from leadership, entrepreneurship, women empowerment, climate change, Agripreneurship, youth policies, and sustainable development goals.

They would work together to draft the Africa Youth Manifesto 2021, a declaration to be submitted to Heads of States and the African Union, the statement said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ivorian delegation in Ghana to understudy peace architecture

Cape Coast,- A 28-member delegation from Côte d’Ivoire on Friday visited the University of Cape Coast (UCC) to understudy Ghana’s security architecture.

The high-powered delegation, led by Madam Dogbo Paule Rene’e, the Ivorian Chief of Staff, visited the University to interact with the Department of Peace Studies of the School for Development Studies.

The members included Theodore Konimi, the Vice Chief of Staff, Bamba Abdoulaye, Director of Conflict Prevention and Conflict Management, and Kassi Patrick, Responsible for Monitoring Security Sector Reform under the National Security Council.

The others were Coulibaly Tiohozon Ibrahima, General Manager, Observation of Solidarity and Cohesion under the Ministry of Solidarity and Poverty Reduction, and Gabriel Yoman Ekanza, the Director of National Centre for Coordination of Response Mechanisms.

The Ivorian Chief of Staff said the delegation was on a fact finding tour to acquaint itself with Ghana’s peace architecture and how it had evolved in maintaining national peace.

She said Cote d’Ivoire was in the process of modeling international best practices in nurturing sustainable peace and deemed Ghana’s peace architecture and stability as a perfect example.

Ghana had garnered a lot of experience over the years in peace-building and conflict resolutions therefore, visiting Ghana would enable the members to know the challenges, cost implications in setting up the process, and to explore the possibility of resource and ideas sharing between the two countries for mutual benefits.

Madam Rene’e praised all stakeholders in seeking national peace and cohesion in Ghana and extended invitation to the National Peace Council and authorities at UCC to Cote d’Ivoire to help that country to deepen collaboration to maintain peace in West Africa.

Professor Francis Eric Amuquandoh, the Provost of the College of Humanities and Legal Studies, who represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof Johnson Nyarko Boampong, expressed appreciation to the team and the Ivorian Government for the courtesy.

He pledged the University’s readiness to assist its Western neighbor to maintain peace, adding: “The effects of conflicts have no barriers, hence the need for countries to collaborate on security information sharing to avoid the consequences thereof.”

The University would also collaborate to have its peace and conflict books and other vital documents translated from English Language into French to enhance understanding and information sharing, he said.

Prof Stephen Kendie, former Provost of the College of Humanities and Legal Studies, took the delegation through the elements of Ghana’s security architecture, information sharing, technology, research and communal support systems for maintaining national peace.

He said conflict was an integral part of the society, therefore conflict management and security experts must identify the underlying causes, trends and use device tested mechanisms to solve or address the underlying challenges.

The vicious cycle of poverty and under-development, resulting in killings and impoverishing many, especially women and children, were identified as the biggest threat to peace in West Africa.

That notwithstanding, Prof. Kendie applauded the central role of Ghana’s security agencies, National Peace Council, opinion leaders and the citizenry for their collaboration to maintain peace, harmony and tranquility.

Source: Ghana News Agency