Isaac Adongo, Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, has questioned the government’s intention to impose an Emissions Levy on internal combustion engines in the country.
Before rising, Parliament enacted the Emissions Levy by majority vote, imposing GH100 yearly fees on all internal combustion engines, including motorbikes.
During the levy’s discussion, leading member of the Finance Committee Isaac Adongo revealed that the GH540 million the government hopes to receive from the charge will be used for other purposes rather than combating climate change.
The Bolgatanga Central MP said that the administration has run out of revenue-raising ideas, prompting the implementation of the “Smoke Tax.” He questioned why the administration had kept MPs up so late merely 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 GH¢100 and this will yield about GH¢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.”
According to the Bolgatanga Central MP, the implementation of the Sanitation Levy has not resulted in any funds getting into the sector, and he predicts that the Emission Levy would meet the similar 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 also questioned why such a fee is being imposed when the government has not implemented steps to make the usage of electric vehicles more easy. He claims that the system is not yet equipped to accommodate electric vehicles, and that the government is putting the wagon before the horse by instituting 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”
Dr. Mohammed Amin Adams, Minister of State in the Finance Ministry, claimed that such a charge is necessary in the battle against climate change. According to him, the fee and regulations are intended to create an enabling climate for private-sector investment in making the country more electric car friendly.
On the eve of the Christmas recess, Parliament enacted five tax legislation, including the Emissions Levy. Stamp Duty Amendment Bill, 2023, Excise Duty Amendment Bill, 2023, Value Added Tax Amendment Bill, 2023, and Exemptions Amendment Bill, 2023 were the others.
The House also passed the Appropriation Bill, 2023, which authorizes the government to spend up to two hundred and fifty-nine billion, fifty-two million, four hundred and seventy-four thousand, seven hundred and fifty Ghana cedis.
The minority’s attempt to stall tax approval by asking for a headcount was defeated by a 134:137 defeat to the majority.