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Ghanaian lawmakers exchange blows over electronic tax bill

by Theophile
Ghanaian MPs clash in parliament over mobile money tax

There was chaos in the Ghana parliament on Monday when some lawmakers exchanged blows during voting on the electronic transaction levy bill.

A scuffle broke out in Ghana’s parliament during a nighttime sitting over a controversial government proposed tax on electronic transactions.

MPs pushed and pushed each other and threw punches at each other, while others tried to stop the fighting.

The chaos began after opposition MPs rushed to prevent Vice President Joseph Osei Owusu from leaving his seat to vote, local media reported.

He chaired the meeting, which was then adjourned due to the disorder.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) rejected the proposed 1.75% levy on electronic transactions, which includes mobile payments.

He says it will reach people with low incomes and those outside the formal banking sector.

But Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Artta said there was a need to widen the tax net, arguing it could raise an additional 6.9 billion Ghanaian cedi ($ 1.15 billion; $ 870 million pounds sterling) next year.

The parliamentary session began Monday morning and ended after midnight, reports local newspaper Graphic.

The vice president was seen as crucial as parliament was heavily divided over the proposed tax.

It was approved by parliament’s finance committee by 13 to 12 votes, but only after its chairman cast the decisive vote in favor of the proposal, the Graphic said.

While some of the deputies punched each other, some tried to calm the situation.

Voting on the tax procedure was postponed to 18 January.

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