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Open Letter To Minority Leader Of Ghana’s Parliament On The 1.75% E-Levy Etc-Part Two

By Major Mohammed Bogobiri (Rtd)
Letter Open Letter To Minority Leader Of Ghanas Parliament On The 1.75 E-Levy Etc-Part Two
DEC 6, 2021 LISTEN

Dear Hon Minority Leader,

On behalf of the voiceless and timorous citizenry, I am to thank you very much for heeding to the clarion call for you to lead in the fight against the 1.75% e-transaction levy, the 15% increment in the Government services (DVLA, Passport, Education especially Tertiary level etc) transactions levy and the abolishing of the rod toll not only as a member of the NDC but as a pungent national leader.

Hon Minority Leader, before I expatiate on the topic, please pardon me to make relevant disclosures to kill the wrong considerations by some people especially fellow NPP elements that it is only members of the Great NDC Party of the late Papa J or the Minority Members of Parliament under your able Leadership and Some Civil Society Groups that are kicking against the 1.75% E-levy thus labelled them as anti-NPP Administration of His Excellency President Nana Addo who is noted as the Show boy of Africa as confirmed by Forbes African Magazine or Publication. This is people have failed to make critical thinking on or analysis of the1.75% E-transaction levy, a very regressive tax with the associated potential debilitating effects on the financial state of the citizenry especially the poor ones, and its potential to destroy the time and huge money spent on the digitization and the digitalization of e-commerce .

Hence, I wish to proclaim that I am not with NDC, which the PNDC, (I was against for numerous reasons especially the collapse of my father’s business) gave birth to as a vehicle for the Democratization process. Infact whilst as a student at KNUST in 1979, together with Hans Djaba, the late Jeremiah Djan, who was my boss due to then as the Chairman of the SRC Entertainment Committee and I was the Chairman of Republic Hall Entertainment Committee for two consecutive terms, we fought with other students against the PNDC. This was so because the 1979 Constitution of the then Third Republic enjoined or called on all patriotic citizens to fight to defend, uphold, protect and preserve it.

It was my anti-PNDC stand that made me to join the Military and I resigned from the Military when the battle against the PNDC gave us the 1992 Constitution and upon that I did swear to the Almighty God that I will not vote for Papa J’s NDC Party but vote for the NPP Party even if a donkey is nominated to stand as the NPP candidate for an election. Hence, I support Nana Addo, who is the President of Ghana and more important by God’s order to his people to support their Leaders to lead them very well in His name, so I have no other choice but to support him to govern well. Hence, my usual take thanks to Modern Ghana for the support in the publication of my write-ups and the numerous readers or recipients of my write up for the motivation to do so. Without the support of Modern Ghana and the readers or recipients of my articles I might have committed suicide by now to be explained below. Once again thanks to Modern Ghana and my readers for keeping me so busy in the night or most of the time in the writing.

Hon Minority Leader (Junior Nabia, Hon Harunah Iddrissu, please my folio number is 1294), despite my anti-PNDC stand but then as an Army Officer, who was commissioned into the Ghana Army in 1985 or so by the then Chairman of the PNDC, (Flt JJ Rawlings or the late Papa J) I was bound by my oath to be loyal to the then Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, who even saved me from possible dismissal or punishment by the Military.

Hon Minority Leader, pardon me to digress to elucidate on how the late Papa JJ saved me from possible dismissal or punishment by the Military in 1985 or so. I was then a very troublesome and fearless young Lieutenant and there was a durbar at Burma Hall organized by the then PNDC for Mr Yasser Arafat, then Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to chat with the Military personnel.

So out of foolish bravery (bravado), I asked a very embarrassing question to the visiting VIP, the leader of the PLO (Yasser Arafat), which seemingly angered him or confused him. This turned the whole of the Burma Camp Hall into a dead cemetery where the drop of a pin could be heard at Makola. This was with the then Chairman of the PNDC/ Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, Gen Arnold Quainnoo, then GOC of the Ghana Armed Forces, the Late Capt Kojo Tsikata (Member of PDNC for National Security and some Officers and Men of the Ghana Armed Forces in attendance.

Thanks to the late Papa J who in 1978 was my acquaintance because we used to meet at UTC Makola, where and when one of my late brothers was the Provision Manager at UTC and Her Excellency Nana Konadu Agymenang Rawlings (also my acquaintance/ dancing mate at Tiptoe Gardens Asylum Down) was then a Staff of UTC with her Office very closed to that of my late brother’s, hence I was not surprised that he came to my rescue.

Hon Minority Leader, I am against establishment or anti-establishment that is against party politics especially when elections are over and all persons are required to support the Government of the day. As a patriotic citizen, I consider God First (Honesty), Ghana second (patriotism), Party and tribe (groupings or alliance) last. Hence, my fight against some policies or aspects of the 2022 Budget, especially the E-levy and the 15% increment in the levies for Government services transactions is for God First, which entails love for mankind (image of God) hence the welfare of the needy or the poor come first as demanded by His Excellency Dr Bawumia the VP and Nation Second.

Hon Minority Leader, I wish to let my compatriots to know that Politicians everywhere in the World should not be trusted 100 percent and like one under Secretary General for UN Peace Keeping Operation once said that the citizenry must have a critical mind so as not to accept everything from the Politicians as face value.

So I want to say that the Minister for Finance was very clear he said the 1.75% was on all E-Transaction covering MoMo Payments, Bank Transfers, Merchant Payments. Hence All E-Transaction means totality and in Maths we say Universal Set. Hence it covers all electronic financial transactions, Period.

Ghana is aiming at cashless or e-cedi economy, hence the Kwaku ananse or brer rabbit story that it would not affect the recipient is not true , maybe the Minister was neither a critical thinker nor truthful. The recipient is in the chain of economic expenditure in a cashless economy. The Sender sends cash to the recipient and the recipient automatically assumes the status of a Sender (a potential sender) in a cashless system anytime he or she is to spend the money received, hence the e-levy will surely have debilitating effect on the money received by the Recipient, this is a simple logic.

Hon Minority Leader please ponder the situation in which you purchase an item from Melcom or Accra or Kumasi Mall which cost GHC200.00 as the actual value without tax but due to addition of VAT etc the cost that will be presented to you for payment is GHC200 plus VAT component. Then if the 1.75% is approved by Parliament then you can guess the debilitating effect of a double taxation on your income.

Hon Minority Leader, Honesty is the Best Policy as proclaimed by my late brother Alhaji Mohammed Issaka of blessed memory (who was once a General Contractor, Transporter and benevolent person par excellence), so I wish to or as an honest person, I must disclose that sometimes, I have to park my car and walk from Kejetia Market to Agric Kwadaso, on my return trip. Also be informed that but for the benevolent support from some people and Xpressloan and Quikloan introduced by Ecobank and MTN respectively, some of us who are yet to recoup our investments from Legacy Fund Management and Menzgold etc and did not enjoy the bail out by the government would have committed suicide by now due to the unbearable situations.

Hon Minority Leader, please inform His Excellency President Nana Addo, the Show Boy of Africa that some of us are in Concrete Jungle (courtesy of Concrete Jungle lyrics by Bob Marley), so as stated it is by God’s grace and thanks to Xpressloan and Quikloan by Ecobank and MTN respectively that some of his citizens and not aliens or spectators are or I am still alive because I take a loan of GHC1,650.00 every month on the MTN mobile money platform which must be paid within 30 days. Hon Minority Leader, it is not easy at all because sometimes in order to extend the deadline for the repayment, I have to rob Peter to pay Paul, consequently, I have to pay the interest on the loan twice in a month. So you can imagine the debilitating effect on my finances. Hence, reduction of the levy to 0.5% maybe very much appreciated.

Hon Minority Leader, last month, it was alleged by the media that the General Manager of Quikloan indicated that if the 1.75% e-levy is introduced then the Quikloan may cease to exist and if this happens and you happen to hear of any financial related suicide in 2022, please put it on the head of the Minister of Finance. So we beg him to make a critical thinking on the thorny matters on the 2022 Budget especially the 1.75% levy and reduce it to 0.5%.

Hon Minority Leader, please on behalf of some of the affected Quikloan customers, I am to beg you to lobby with the Management of Quikloan not to cancel, the God Send panacea to the woes of some of the citizens especially those of us whose monies are yet to be recouped from some of the defunct financial institutions.

Hon Minority Leader, so what should His Excellency President Nana Addo do in order to generate more revenue for National Development (creation jobs, for infrastructure, pay wages etc).

As sated stated in my first letter to you which was published by Modern Ghana in the 22 November 2021 edition, he should reduce the e-levy to 0.5% and make yearly increment to attain 1.5% by 2024.

He should reduce the 15% levy on Government Services to between 5 to 10% since wages may not be increased by 10% yearly.

His Excellency President Nana Addo must reduce government expenditure drastically and also do away with economic waste. An area which needs a critical look is non-core activity or business or investments of State Companies like GNPC. For instance GNPC to concentrate or her core business and pay more money into the Consolidated Fund or the appropriate State Fund so it should sell by off-loading Prestea Sankofa Gold Ltd to a strategic investor.

The allocation of funds to Foundations and expenditure on Corporate Social Investments must be checked by the Board or Chief of Staff in order to ensure more or not to weaken or reduce cash payments to the Central Government or Consolidated Fund or the appropriate designated fund. A Corporate Social Responsibilities or Investments and Foundations are very good ideals by international standards but knowing the attitudes of Ghanaian State Official, the abuse of funding is envisaged or cannot be ruled out.

Considering the story of Ghana Airways especially the extravagant conduct by the Management and the attitude of some of the Staff, the setting up of the Aviation Ministry from the Ministry of Transport and the desire to acquire a National Airline or Carrier by this Administration was or is a waste of funding and must be halted. Thanks to COVID-19 for delaying or halting this seemingly wasteful venture.

The report from the Auditor General speaks volume of yearly economic waste and corruption to the sum of over GHC12 Billion that is about GHC4 Billion over what is expected from the 1.75% e-levy. Hon Minority Leader, corruption is the misuse of entrusted power for private gains. By this definition, the President must not wait for investigations from inept anti-corruption institutions before acting, he must adopt the former President of Tanzania, the late John Magufuli methods of fighting corruption especially dismissal and seizure of recent acquired wealth without explanation, so he should start from his backyard. Some of us thought he was going to be or he will be a John Magufuli or Paul Kigame of Ghana.

His Excellency President Nana Addo must privatize some state assets that are not performing (non-performing assets) to raise revenue. Example the Komenda Sugar Factory should be handed over to a strategic investor as planned. The State should be content with the employment it will create, the revenue from income tax, VAT etc and above all the need for the periodic maintenance and servicing of the factory.

As stated State assets like Prestea Sankofa Gold Ltd (PSGL) at Prestea seemingly performing below expectation must be privatized. It is alleged that Prestea Sankofa Gold which suffered massive blow due to mismanagement and huge financial malfeasance on the part of past board of directors, employs close to 300 direct workers. PSGL may be regarded to be on life support by the benevolence of GNPC. Hence, the 300 number of direct workforce is too high for a Junior Mining Company to gain its feet. So need for the Company to check on that. PSGL should acquire Mining Lease, buy spent ore from Small Scale Miners, and reduce likely waste for it to gradually pick up.

The President seemed like making appointments without sound considerations to the economy of Ghana or to the state of some Companies. Example what was the rationale behind the appointment of His Excellency Edward Boateng, former Ambassador to China in August 2021 as the MD of TOR, especially when an interim Management Committee was appointed in July 2021 to check on the rot at TOR. This was immediately after the dismissal in June 2021, the Former MD and his Deputy. TOR has been bedeviled with thievery for over 20 years or since it was nationalized in 1963. For instance, when I was with the disbanded Ghana Armed Forces Farms at Michel Camp, we used to hear the theft of fuel, others items and diversion of fuel at or connected with TOR.

TOR requires over 1 billion Dollars for recapitalization to make it efficient, knowing the Ghanaian attitude we should not gamble to invest in TOR, but privatize it with minimum delay and enjoy the taxes etc from it. After doing so, the President should through appropriate legislation convert the TOR recovery levy which is already in place to road maintenance levy or abolish to reduce the cost of fuel.

Hon Minority Leader, considering that over 5 Billion Dollars that is about 30Billion Dollars is lost yearly through gold smuggling to United Arab Emirate as reported in 2019 or so by His Excellency President Nana Addo, one may be right to say that the loss of revenue from Gold and other minerals through smuggling globally and hording (accumulating gold at homes without accounting as the laws requires) or unaccounted gold may be estimated as over 20 billion dollars (GHC120 Billion) than is more than the GHC105 Billion as the expected revenue for the 2022 Budget with the 1.75% levy. The worst part of the story is that most of the revenue realized are transferred to China and other Countries by their Nationals or remain in Banks in Dubai or used to acquire assets in Dubai etc, hence no gain in forex exchange or indirect tax in the form of VAT to Ghana.

The 1992 Constitution has vested all minerals both metallic (gold etc) and industry (salt, sand, clay etc) in the President of Ghana, hence the President should exercise more or effective responsibility by waking up the technical staff of the Ministry of Lands and Forest and the Minerals Commission, Bank of Ghana and Precious Marketing Company to think outside the box. So as to reduce the smuggling of gold to a minimum and check the environmental degradations the below three recommendations are made.

Need for a reform in the nomenclature in the Mining Industry so that we have three categories, the current Small Scale Mining and Large Scale Mining with an additional Medium Scale Mining for Junior Mining Companies.

The Small Scale Mining should be restricted to Ghanaians artisanal Miners, who should be made to mine with no sophisticated equipment, with no substantial amount and with a size of land not more than 10 acres for 10 or more in a Cooperative.

Good security systems to be put in place to ensure gold obtained are well accounted and recorded by the Cooperative, the recording should be supported with signatures or thumb prints of the owner, a Security Rep and the Cooperative leadership.

All transactions must be weighed, recorded and covered with signatures of a Security Rep, Cooperative leadership or the seller (owner) and Buyer. The Gold should be sold by the Cooperative on behalf of the owner or by the owner with the documents or waybills bearing the signatures as stated direct to Precious Marketing Company or through a Licensed Agent.

In March 2014, a report from the University of Surrey estimated that 1.1million Ghanaians were directly involved in artisanal small-scale mining, while a further 4.4m were depending on the industry for their livelihoods. An indicative of the potential of Small Scale Mining as an avenue for huge number of employment and revenue from gold sales and VAT. It is an open secret or studies have revealed that some if not all the Licensed Small Scale Miners colluded or collude with Foreigners who are the real owners of the Mining Companies with the Ghanaian acting as Middleman or frontmen. Hence, considering the unpatriotic nature of the Ghanaian, introduction of Medium Scale Mining and permitting foreign participation can cure this problem. That is to say permission of limited Foreigners with dedicated fund at a Bank or holding of capital of a spelt out threshold before allowing foreign participation in the Medium Scale Mining by partnership with their Ghanaian Collaborators.

Medium Scale Mining Companies to appoint a mining expert as General Manager, a Safety and Environmental Managers.

Medium Scale Mining or Junior Mining Companies are normally not members of the Ghana Chamber of Mines. They must be made to form a Chamber of Junior Mining Companies or join the Ghana Chamber of Mines and adopt the rigorous Gold accounting system similar to what pertains in the Major Mining Companies who are members of the Ghana Chamber of Mines.

When I was at Bogoso Gold Ltd, together with the then Finance Manager, we came out with very efficient Gold accounting system or Metallurgical Security Protocols which were accepted by GRA, Bank of Ghana and Rand refinery in South Africa. Hence, Rand Refinery paid for the Gold to Bogoso Mine immediately they received the electronic paper work from the Finance Manager, whilst the Gold is still in the location of the Mine or in transit.

The Metallurgical Security Protocol among others, involved an initial stringent security measures to ensure every troy Oz or blade of gold is well accounted for from mining, milling, smelting/refining and shipment. On the day of smelting/refining especially immediately after smelting or refining, the Police and Company Security provide periphery protection, Company Security for protection at the Process Plant or establishment of Plant internal security who must apply among other measures, a thorough body search before entry by and during exit of all persons .

After the Smelting, A Rep from GRA (Custom Division), Head of Security, Process Plant Manager or his Deputy must provide physical presence in the Gold House or Room to conduct the weighing, recording of gold bars to be backed with three signatures of the Rep from GRA (Custom Division), Head of Security and Process Plant Manager. Next is boxing with good labelling and sealing of the boxed bullion with GRA official Seal and Company seal, after which weighing of the boxed bullions is done then recorded and backed with three signatures of the Rep from GRA (Custom Division), Head of Security and Process Plant Manager after which the boxed bullion are kept in a strong safe with two keys controlled by the Head of Security and the Process Plant Manager.

The personnel are searched out by an independent search team after which the Gold Room or House is locked by the Head of Security and the Process Plant Manager. The movements of all keys are controlled by documentation to be supported with signatures with dates. The results of the weighing are sent to the Finance Manager by the Rep from GRA (Custom Division). The Finance Manager then computes the gold sales and send the details to Bank of Ghana, GRA and Rand Refinery.

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