By: James Kwesi Avedzi, GIJ.
President of the African University College of Communication (AUCC), Professor Isaac Abeku Blankson, has cautioned government against stopping public education on the electronic transfer levy (E-Levy) after it has been passed. He said this will help in public collaboration and a smooth implementation of the act.
The Professor in Public Relations and Development Communication gave this advice during his presentation at a public lecture organized by the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) under the auspices of the Directorate of Research, Innovation and Development (DRID), to look at the “Civil Engagement and Communicating Public Policy: Lessons from the E-Levy.”
According to him, “government must not go to sleep. Continue the engagement for public compliance and a smooth execution of the E-Levy. Adopt the collaborative and consultative approach to policy making for collective decision making for growth.”
In his view, Professor Abeku Blankson believes that the E-Levy suffered setbacks from its insertion because government downplayed the importance of stakeholder consultation on the bill. While “72% of Ghanaians said they will gladly pay tax according to Afrobarometer survey in 2019, 73% of same Ghanaians disagrees with paying E-Levy, according to the Global Information Analytics.”
“You found out that the opposition said they have not been included in the initial process. Some CSOs have also complained same. Meanwhile had the opposition been included and they also communicating more on the E-Levy, it would have helped.”
“The townhall meetings should have been done earlier, and the government officials shouldn’t have also taken defensive positions at the meetings. Maybe, they shouldn’t have also gone to the people in SUVs to plead with them to pay tax.”
He has therefore called on government not to be reactional, but proactive in dealing with similar issues in the future.