A brawl broke out in Ghana’s parliament during a late-night session on Monday over a government-proposed levy of 1.75% on electronic transactions that has divided the house for weeks.
The chaos started after opposition Members of parliament rushed forward to prevent Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu from leaving his seat to vote where some threw punches and grappled while others restrained their colleagues local media reported. He suggested the tax be debated and voted upon under a hastened “urgency” procedure.
“We need to demonstrate to the country that our democracy is growing, and will not suffer some of these unacceptable sins and spectacles we’ve witnessed on the floor,” minority leader Haruna Iddrisu said on Tuesday.
The 1.75% e-levy, which would include taxes on mobile money payments, has been fiercely challenged by the opposition since it was first proposed last month and held up the passing of the national budget.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta argued that the levy would widen the tax net and raise an additional 6.9 billion Ghanaian cedi ($1.15 billion) in 2022.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that rejected the proposed levy on electronic transactions said it will hit low-income people and those outside the formal banking sector.
Ofori-Atta has promised to hold further discussions with stakeholders about the levy.
A vote on whether to proceed with the urgency procedure was postponed to January 18.