Story: Araba Rhule
E-Levy has taken the centre stage of all of our national conversations; to the extent that there will be a time when patrons or attendants to our markets, would be determined by one’s acceptability or otherwise of the disputed levy. And so I can imagine patrons in Asafo Market being asked “Ei madam, do you support E-Levy or not”? If the answer is “No”, expect her to be driven away from the imaginatively, NPP dominated owners of the market.
And you know the drift. No matter how bad a situation may be or sound, the Asantes will in one of their proverbs tell you that no Asante or Akan will point you his/her home with the left finger. Situate that with the E-Levy gimmick and the import is simple: “We cannot simply reject the NPP because of the controversial E-Levy. We shall help the party to achieve the E-Levy objective”, you can imagine such words blurter from the minds’ eye of many NPP zealots.
The marked NPP die-hard may continue: “After all that is our last resort of raising money to shore up our ailing economy and infrastructural developments that our beloved Nana Addo has assured us and expose why the NDC is struggling to cast out what may put them out of reach of power for the next 20 years.”
The very opposite may be happening in the Volta Region, the NDC stronghold “If you know you’re a supporter of Akufo Addo’s E-Levy, please don’t even attempt coming to the Ho marketoooo.” I can imagine the gong-gong beater going out disturbing the peace of many who have returned from their sea and farming expeditions without much success and the okada drivers who struggled to cross over from the Ghana border to Togo without much revenue like before; because officially, Akufo Addo has closed Ghana’s border with the Republic of Togo.
Yet, since the heart-beat of the of gong-gong message is on E-levy, NPP and Akufo Addo, expect the most wearied limbs in the Volta Region as the occasion demands, to forget about their problems for the day to go listen to the message from the town-crier.
The narrative although seems to be comic reliever on the E-Levy, it offers a certain inclination about how the E-Levy has now become a national obsession and polarised the country on E-Levy “Yes or No”. To the extent that a serious diplomatic issue like Ghana’s involvement in the Russian-Ukrainian war of arms is being reduced to a trading war of words between Ghanaian political opponents.
It gets quite worrisome when the source of the stoical joke is the deputy Majority Leader of the Ghanaian Parliament. The frustration of this bystander sums it all: “Eii E-Levy hits Russia and Ukraine Too,” a spontaneous laughter busted out of the many who were caught unawares of the statement.
Deputy Majority Leader, Afenyo Markin remarked the other day that all those wishing that Ghana brought her citizens trapped in the Russian-Ukraine war back home, should first move for the approval of the E-Levy because Ghana has no funds to evacuate the war-trapped Ghanaians. The immediate reaction of an active observer of the Ghanaian political scene would be like “was the Effutu MP serious or just engaging in some comic relieves”?
Sorry! It can’t be that comical! And the trajectory has been very clear from NPP stakeholders to black-mail every Ghanaian with the E-Levy tax. At their town hall meetings, they make it seemed as if the opposition NDC is the agent that is winding back the clock of time for Ghana’s progression by simply rejecting the E-Levy.
University Lectures go on strike and government’s concern is that tell the NDC to approve of the E-Levy; salaries of government workers go into arrears, “tell the NDC to join us pass the E-Levy”; monies for the keeping of SHS students have been in arrears for close to four years and the E-Levy comic still buzz from the NPP folks “ask your NDC folks to join us pass the E-Levy.”
Students loan schemes have been in arrears for the past three years and you hear the NPP folks suggesting the only way to make the money available to students is to commit every Ghanaian to e-levy in order to raise the necessary revenue.
The E-Levy only became a national coinage during the presentation of the 2022 budget statement, some two to three months ago, so why lump in the controversial tax when government is being asked about issues that have been outstanding for close to four years or more? Clearly, the E-Levy may be passed, but as to how that will deal with the myriad of problems in our economy is the subject of conjectural analysis.