The Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, Isaac Adongo has questioned the basis for a decision by the government to introduce Emissions Levy for internal combustion engines in the country.

Parliament by majority decision before rising passed the Emissions Levy to impose GHC100 annual payments on all internal combustion engines including motorcycles.

Speaking during the consideration of the levy ranking member for the Finance Committee Isaac Adongo disclosed the GHC540 million government is seeking to raise from the levy will be channeled into other things rather than fighting climate change.

The Bolgatanga Central MP argued government has ran out of ideas in raising revenue thus the introduction of what he calls the Smoke Tax. He questioned why government had kept MPs that late just to impose further hardships on Ghanaians.

“Mr. Speaker, quite clearly this government has fallen short of taxing everything. For those of you who speak Akan,” wunnim Nwusie” (Do you know Smoke), “Nwusie” (smoke),”Nwusie” (smoke) tax, at 2am you are imposing taxes on smoke. “Nwusie” (smoke) tax at 2am “aabah”.”

“It appears, you are now struggling to find something to impose a tax on. Mr. Speaker, every available excuse has been exploited, now they say that if you are driving an internal combustion engine, you will pay GHC 100 and this will yield about GHC 540 million.

“But shockingly Mr. Speaker, this money which is supposed to assist us deal with climate change does not have any policy orientation whatsoever to tackle climate change. If our emphasis is really to deal with climate change, then we expect that this money should be invested in activities that will lead to find the solution to climate change, but it is not.” 

The Bolgatanga Central MP related to the introduction of the Sanitation Levy which according to him has not seen proceeds going into the sector to predict the Emission Levy will suffer the same fate.

 “We found an excuse with “borla” to tax sanitation, it didn’t go into sanitation. Now we are taxing internal combustion engine to deal with climate change but the money is not going into climate change; so what exactly are we taxing that money to do.” Adongo queried.

Mr. Adongo further questioned why such a levy is being introduced when government had not put in measures to make use electric vehicles more convenient. According to him the system is not yet wired to be accommodating to electric vehicles arguing the government is putting the cart before the horse with the introduction of such a Levy.   

“For you to buy an electric vehicle into Ghana today, you will need to reconfigure the electrical systems in your house to charge that vehicle”

Minister of State at the Finance Ministry Dr. Mohammed Amin Adams however argued such a levy is essential towards the fight against climate change. According to him the levy and the legislation are meant to create the enabling environment for investment from the private sector in making the country more electric vehicles friendly.

Parliament on the night of rising for the Christmas break passed 5 tax bills including the Emissions Levy. The others were Stamp Duty Amendment Bill, 2023, Excise Duty Amendment Bill, 2023, Value Added Tax Amendment Bill, 2023 and Exemptions Amendment Bill, 2023.

The House also passed the Appropriation Bill, 2023 to give the legal backing to government to spend an amount not exceeding Two Hundred and Fifty Nine Billion, Fifty-Two Million, Four Hundred and Seventy-Four Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty Ghana Cedis.

An attempt by the minority to scuttle the approval of the taxes by calling for a headcount was thwarted by a 134:137 defeat to the majority.

Source: Ghana/