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E-Levy Bill; Cardano Blockchain can Save Mobile Money Transaction Cost in Ghana

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Africa’s private sector is characterized by informal activities. The private informal sector is one of the huge sectors. This can be associated with the regulatory challenges and their inabilities to afford to hire professionals to properly document business activities of the informal sector. In Ghana, the private sector employs 92.5% of the economically active population with the majority being in the private informal sector, according to the Ghana Living Standard Survey[1].

The Government of Ghana despite its failed effort in developing the private sector is trying all it can to capture the sector in the tax net.

Unfortunately, Government is a level 4 spender and that means, spending other people’s money on someone else. The level 4 spender is inefficient in neither knowledge nor budget. You do things with little idea of whether it will benefit those it spends on. You waste money and have no incentive to stop spending. The government and all government welfare programs are best fit level 4 spender.
Adam Smith opined that’there is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of people’.

The emergence of Fintech however, has seen a huge rise in financial inclusiveness in the developing world thus providing a platform that requires less documentation for an individual to transfer and receive money with just few steps on a mobile phone.

Ghana like other developing worlds has benefited from mobile money with platforms including MTN MoMo, Voda-Cash, Airtel-Tigo Money, G-money, Zeepay among others. This platform has done most to integrate the informal sector to do business transactions with ease.

It is important to note that mobile money transactions come at a fee thus $0.082 (GHS0.50) on every $8 (GHS50.00) one sends, withdraw, or transfer. Therefore, customers pay more in transactions based on the amount being transferred. This is certainly not the case on Cardano and other blockchains because the amount being transferred is not a determinant of the gas fee.

The convenience of mobile money platforms facilitated huge adoption. With recent financial sector clean-up that saw many traditional banks collapsing and customers losing their deposits, the Ghanaian citizens have grown trust for mobile money platforms than banks because of the easy and convenient access to money, with less documentation. One needs just a Voter’s ID card to deposit or for withdrawal and absolutely nothing when transferring.

Between 2017 to 2021, mobile money transactions increased from GHS155 million to GHS986 million Ghana cedis[2]. This has attracted the government to expand its tax net to mobile money transactions. The E-levy set out on page 74 of the budget statement specifically outlines the introduction of a 1.75% levy on electronic transactions covering mobile money payments, bank transfers, and merchant payments, and inward remittances.

More recently, the Finance Minister has presented the Electronic Transfer Levy Bill, 2021 (E-Levy) to the parliament of Ghana that would impose 1.75% on every transaction if it is passed[3]. The bill imposes a 1.75% tax set out in the first schedule on Electronic Money Issuers, Payment Service Providers, Banks, Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions, and Other Financial Institutions prescribed by the Regulation made under the Act.

Section 2 of the E-levy bill exempts the cumulative transfer of $15 (GHS100.0) made per day by the same person, transfer between the accounts owned by the same person, electronic payment for taxes, fees, and charges to government, specified merchant payment, and transfer between a principal, agent and master-agent account.

What is more intriguing is that the bill defines a merchant as ‘a commercial establishment which has been registered with the Ghana Revenue Authority for income tax and value-added tax purposes’.

Merchants originally do not pay any charges because they are the local corner shops where anyone can easily stop to deposit money on various mobile money platforms. The bill focuses solely on taxing everything out of the informal sector.

The government has done little to formalize the informal sector in Ghana, however, wants to seize the opportunity to tax everything out of it.

Introducing E-levy goes contrary to fundamental principles of taxation. Taxation must not be discriminatory. In this sense, E-levy is discriminating between those who use electronic transactions and those who don’t. The E-levy bill is doing exactly so in a very aggressive and regressive approach.

In addition, taxation must be neutral, that is not affecting individual decision-making. The E-levy would affect individuals’ decisions hence making individuals decide whether or not to use electronic transactions for their economic interactions and payment.

The risk here is that the E-levy will make a lot of individuals return to the cash economy. One trite developing countries, including Ghana, are known for and this has a huge tendency of deepening security woes in Ghana. Armed robbers could easily attack traders carrying loads of cash for their daily business activities.

In a recent publication by TV3 news[4], MTN and Airtel-Tigo have agreed to reduce the original charges (($0.08 per every $8) to cushion customers. This is mobile money provider’s response to the E-levy bill. However, based on tax elasticity, customers would respond hugely with time by reducing to a minimum their activities on mobile money platforms.

Interestingly, Cardano blockchain is a revolution with immense benefit to the developing world of which Ghana is part. Imagine if telecommunication (Telcos) giants in Ghana can migrate mobile money transactions on Cardano blockchain building unique Dapps. This would be mean a lot to individuals in Ghana and to avoid the risk of robbery and going back to a cash economy.

The migration of mobile money on the Cardano blockchain would hugely increase adoption and contribute to achieving digitization efforts in Ghana. This is because transaction on the Cardano blockchain is cheap only to cover the cost of processing and storing the transaction. Averagely, it cost $0.3 as a transaction fee and does not depend on the volume of transactions.

One could transfer $1,000 or $1,000,000 at the same cost of $0.3 on the Cardano blockchain[5]. The situation varies on mobile money where it would cost $9.85 to transfer $1000, and the cost increases depending on the amount being transferred ($0.08 per every $8).

More so, Cardano blockchain has proof of stake algorithm that randomly selects slot leaders and pays out Cardano fees as rewards. This would bring benefits to mobile money providers in Ghana and customers, allowing individuals to engage in their business activities at a lesser cost.

The Government of Ghana has a target to raise GHS6 billion from E-levy for the year 2022. It is also stated in paragraph 318 of the 2022 budget statement that, a portion of E-levy revenue would be used for entrepreneurship (YouStart Initiative), Cyber Security, Digital, and Road infrastructure. Developmental projects in Ghana rely heavily on loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Investment Bank (EIB) and World Bank, therefore, it would be difficult for the public to trust the government with E-levy spendings. Ghana’s debt stock hits GHS332 billion with a debt to GPD ratio of 76%.

If the government is unable to meet its target, the solution would be more taxes.

Unlike the government, blockchain is open and easy to track the improvement on the chains. It would be easy to verify and track the improvement on the Cardano blockchain. Determinants of Cardano fees according to developers depend on;

Expense of a Single Computer Byte

Average Transaction per Second

Average Transaction Size

Cost of Running a Full Node

What is more amazing is that Cardano fees are flexible and respond to market conditions. It means, in the future, as the price of ADA increases, cost per transaction can relatively become steady and reduced.

In all, telcos giants should consider migrating mobile money transactions to the Cardano blockchain to enable them to constantly serve their customers at a lesser cost in Ghana.

Author: Nathaniel Dwamena

He is the Executive Director at Institute for Coin Liberty and engages in activities that promote free market, property right and blockchain advocacy in Ghana. He is also the Co-Founder, Young Africans for Opportunities, R&D Manager at Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI), Community Advisor and Member, WADA-Ghana.

References

[1]Ghana Living Standard Survey, 2017

[2]Ghana’s 2022 Budget Statement.

[3]Electronic Transaction Bill, 2021

[4]TV3 News, 2021, ‘E-Levy: MTN, AirtelTigo agree to reduce charges to cushion customers’ retrieved from https://3news.com/e-levy-mtn-airteltigo-agree-to-reduce-charges-to-cushion-customers/
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National: 2023 Budget: TUC to reject government’s salary projection of ₵44.9m

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Deputy-General-Secretary-of-the-Trades-Union-Congress-TUC-Joshua-Ansah

After several attempts to reach an agreement with government over an increment in their base pay, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is expected to meet government on Wednesday to finalise a deal.

But before that meeting gets underway, the Trades Union Congress is warning that it will not accept government’s projections in the 2023 Budget.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, reading the 2023 Budget in Parliament projected compensation of employees at GH¢44,990 million (5.6% of GDP).

Earlier, government also proposed a 12% salary increment during the last negotiation with Organised Labour but it was turned down.

 

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express on Tuesday, Deputy General Secretary of TUC, Joshua Ansah stated that they would not agree to the projected figure.

According to Mr Ansah, government must expect a fight if they turn up at the meeting with the same proposal.

JoyNews/AdomNews · TUC to reject government’s salary projection in 2023 Budget
“There is no way Organised Labour is also going to accept what has been put in the budget. Well, if the government has made up its mind that it is the way it thinks that he can actually force down the throat of workers, then we are in for a big fight, because there is no way government can pay anything below what we are expecting,” he said.

He noted that Organised Labour will not compromise on their demand for 60% increment in their base pay.

Meanwhile, the President of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Justice Yankson says government has created a problem by not reaching an agreement with the labour unions earlier.

JoyNews/AdomNews · Dr Yankson on organised labour and government’s negotiations
He believes the current mess could have been prevented.

“These are some of the problems that sometimes we create for ourselves. We had a whole period in which we could have sorted these things, we waited to the last end. Now we can see that we are on a collition course, it is clear,” he said.

Source: Myjoyonline

 

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Politics: Wenchi High Court throws out petition against NPP MP’s 2020 election victory

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A Wenchi High Court has thrown out a petition against New Patriotic Party (NPP) legislator in the Techiman South 2020 election.

The petitioner was seeking the nullification of the poll which saw the NPP candidate, Martin Agyei Mensah Korsah, emerge victorious.

But at the hearing Wednesday, the court explained that the NDC 2020 Parliamentary candidate, Christopher Bayere, who was pursuing the matter, failed to prove the burden of petitioning.

The court was attended by some leaders of the NDC including General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia.

Wenchi High Court throws out petition against NPP MP’s 2020 election victory
He was sighted leaving the court premises a few minutes before the judgement.

The NDC Parliamentary candidate had contested the EC’s verdict which gave the NPP’s candidate victory with 49,682 votes representing 50.2 percent of the total valid votes cast, whilst the NDC’s candidate had 49,205 votes representing 49.8 percent of the total valid votes cast.

The NDC Parliamentary candidate insisted that the figures were not a true reflection of the election.

According to him, per the pink sheets of the NDC agents at each of the 267 polling stations, he garnered 50,306 votes in the Parliamentary election whilst the 1st Respondent polled 50,013 votes.

Wenchi High Court throws out petition against NPP MP’s 2020 election victory
Electoral Commission fined in 2021

In August 2021, the Electoral Commission of Ghana was fined GH¢4,000 by the court after the Court refused to grant the EC’s request for a stay of proceedings in the dispute on July 30, 2021.

Wenchi High Court throws out petition against NPP MP’s 2020 election victory
The EC’s application for a stay of proceedings was to enable it to file a motion to challenge the ruling of the Court at its previous sitting, when it granted the petitioner a motion to amend the title of the writ.

TCounsel for the EC, Emmanuel Addae said the stay of proceedings was to enable him to file supplementary statements in support of the application filed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate, Mr Christopher Beyere Baasongti.

However, reacting to the EC’s stay of proceedings, the Counsel for the petitioner, Justin Teriwajah argued that the motion was frivolous and unnecessarily geared towards delaying the adjudication of the case.

Source: Myjoyonline

 

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Football: Asamoah Gyan’s run, Bagbin’s dance and Black Stars fans’ clean-up as fans celebrate S. Korea win in style

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It was the much-needed win for Ghanaians who were largely sitting on tenterhooks for the final quarter of the game.

And from the reactions, after the South Koreans netted a quickfire double between the 58th and 61st minutes, something had to definitely happen.

Kudus rose to the occasion, found himself at the end of a Gideon Mensah cross and curled the ball past the goalkeeper to restore Ghana’s lead and eventually sealed the game for Black Stars.

Asamoah Gyan’s run, Bagbin’s dance and Black Stars fans’ clean-up as fans celebrate S. Korea win in style
The 68th-minute winner triggered a thunderous celebration across the country and on social media.

Despite late attempts from the Koreans, the game ended 3-2 with Ghana earning a vital win in Group H.

Asamoah Gyan’s run, Bagbin’s dance and Black Stars fans’ clean-up as fans celebrate S. Korea win in style
Alban Bagbin

The jubilation started right from Ghana’s legislative arm where the Speaker, Alban Bagbin was caught on camera dancing to one of the goals on the day from his office.

The ecstatic Speaker punched the air while clad in his Black Star jersey in the company of other officials of the House.

Asamoah Gyan runs

Former Black Stars captain, Asamoah Gyan was on punditry duty at SuperSports TV.

However, the ethics of being on a live set could not suppress his excitement when the deciding goal was scored.

Filled with elation, the former skipper run out of the set in jubilation shouting atop his voice.

His iconic goal celebration was his response when asked about his reaction to some moments of the game.

Fans in clean-up mode

Now, supporters of Japan’s national team have been earning praise in Qatar for their zeal toward cleanliness after each game.

This win seems to have presented Ghanaian fans with the opportunity to emulate this off-pitch tradition.

While many celebrated the win at full-time, other fans were seen moving boxes around to collect the waste left by their colleagues.

South Korea’s Son not in selfie mood

Another interesting sight came from an official from the Ghana dressing room posing for a selfie.

The subject Son Heung-min was almost in tears after his team lost at full-time.

Otto Addo’s side will now face Uruguay in their last game looking to secure qualification to the next stage of the competition.

Source: Myjoyonline

 

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