The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has given an indication that he will not be ready next week to withdraw the Electronic Transaction (E-Levy) Bill in Parliament and substitute it with a new Bill.
Mr Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin, the Deputy Majority Leader, who announced this on the floor of Parliament, said the House would be informed accordingly about a new date for the interrogation and the possible passage of the Bill.
He said it was the Business Committee of the House, which communicated to the Presidency of a convenient time for the E-Levy
Last week, the Deputy Minority Leader, in his presentation of the Business Statement of the House, indicated that the Minister of Finance would possibly withdraw the E-Levy Bill, 2021 on Friday, February 11.
Another option, he stated, was the withdrawal of the Bill in Parliament and the substitution of a new Bill that would include the amendments that the Committee had consensually agreed on.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, expressed the Minority Caucus’ disquiet strongly about the manner the E-Levy issue was being handled.
He said Order 169 of Parliament indicated that “the Committee on Finance shall be composed of twenty-five Members, to which shall be referred Bills, inquiries and other matters relating to finance and the economy generally”.
He said: “As far as we are concerned, a Bill known as the Electronic Transfer Bill was introduced in this House and referred appropriately to the Finance Committee, my strong view is that even in the search, elucidation of views and inputs, it does not lie in the powers of the Minister Mr Ken Ofori-Atta. It lies in the Finance Committee.”
He said what the Minister opt to do under Article 106 was to explain it in a memorandum, which accompanied the Bill, but going around the country to hold town hall meetings on the Bill was not his responsibility, saying, “he is not Parliament, and he is not the Finance
Committee of Parliament.”
The Minority Leader said there was a Bill before this House, appropriately referred to the Finance Committee and that if there must be an engagement, the engagement should be the work of the Finance Committee of Parliament, stating that the rules of the House and the Constitution impose this authority on the Finance Committee of Parliament, not the Finance Minister.
He said as and when the Majority brings the E-Levy Bill to the House, his side was ever ready for it.
Mr Afenyo-Markin, in his response, said it was the same Minority, who requested for broader consultation on the E-Levy, adding that the Finance Minister was not doing the consultation on behalf of Parliament but rather on behalf of the Government.