Afenyo-Markin Denies: I have not said evacuation of Ghanaians from Ukraine is the more reason we need E-levy:
The Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has denied reports that he urged the Minority in Parliament to support the passage of the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy) to ensure government has the needed resources to evacuate Ghanaian nationals from Ukraine.
Speaking in Parliament on Friday, Mr Afenyo-Markin stressed that he never made such a statement.
“The MyJoyOnline yesterday at 4:47pm put this on their online platform. ‘Evacuation of Ghanaians from Ukraine is more reason we need E-levy – Afenyo-Markin’. Mr Speaker, I have not said that. I will never say that and the full tape of what I said is still there,” he said.
However, the report under reference indicates that Mr. Afenyo-Markin expressed concerns over the recent tension in Ukraine that poses a threat to the lives of Ghanaian nationals residing there.
He noted that “we must care about our own citizens in Ukraine considering what is happening there. The call to evacuate Ghanaian citizens from Ukraine will come at a cost,” adding that “no European country will evacuate our citizens for us. America will not do that. There is going to be pressure on the limited resources that we have.”
The Deputy Majority Leader later added that “Of course, Deputy Minority Leader, you have not spoken into the microphone, but if you are talking about E-levy, this is the more important reason why we even need it.”
“If you were talking about the E-levy, that was the next point I was going to get to. That we should congregate around it and find a way of generating revenue as a country to save the situation because we are not in normal times.”
According to Mr Afenyo-Markin, following this publication, he has been ridiculed by some members of the public on social media since other online portals and General Manager of EIB, Nana Aba Anamoah reposted the story, thus widening the readership.
“Unfortunately, when they did this, other online platforms have carried this including Nana Aba Anamoah who copied the headline and placed it on her social media handle.”
“People reading and ridiculing my thoughts. We can’t entertain this. This morning, my respected friend Randy Abbey – he was very light on handling the matter but at least he passed a comment on it on Good Morning Ghana. A lot of online platforms have this. (We don’t) have to wait until it is somebody before we comment on it.”
Mr. Afenyo-Markin, who is also the MP for Effutu, has, therefore, demanded a retraction and an “unqualified apology.”
“Other online platforms that carried this mischief do same and I’m making an appeal to Nana Aba Anamoah that she should also check with me because at least she has my number. We can’t allow this. Then we mess each other up and then people take us not serious that politicians just get up and say anything,” he continued.
According to the Effutu MP, “I am not perfect, but I am always careful about things I say. If I’m not sure, I won’t say them. I may slip.”
He spoke of how the war is adversely affecting Ghana and other developing nations.
“There is no doubt on my mind that just as Covid-19 disrupted the world economy, this war is also disrupting the world economy and affecting developing nations like Ghana. Already, the unemployment situation is something that is a burden on us as a country. Ghanaians are worried about fuel prices. They go to the pump and it’s unbearable and we are having this escalation which is also leading to high prices of crude.”
In view of this, he added that “This the time for us as a country for a new approach to our politics…. This is not the time for partisan politics. This is the time to work together because it is a whole crisis that won’t be limited to the people of Effutu but those at Elembele will go through the same crisis.
There is a call on us as patrons to think of new ways. As a businessman, I’m concerned knowing that the value chain is going to be affected.”
He made the comments after Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, invoked order 72 of the Standing Orders to raise a matter of urgent public importance.
That is to “call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Interior and Finance to work together to take urgent steps to ensure the safety of Ghanaian students in Ukraine and to work towards the immediate evacuation of Ghanaian students.”
He demanded that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, must make money readily available to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.
“We do know the number of Ghanaian students in Ukraine. Quite a number studying medicine, probably some even sponsored by Members of Parliament. The situation in Ukraine is very worrying. Given the situation of a near hot war in Ukraine and Russia not yielding to the diplomatic maneuvers of the West, particularly that led by the French President Macron and many others.”
The Tamale South MP insisted that this must be done to ensure the students and their parents that they are Ghanaian and they deserve the support.