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Ghanaian MPs brawl in parliament over mobile payments tax

Ghanaian MPs brawl in parliament over mobile payments tax

Ghanaian MPs brawled on the floor of the country's parliament on Monday as lawmakers came to blows over a proposed tax on electronic transactions.

MPs were debating the government-proposed Electronic Communications Tax (E-Levy) late into the night when the scuffle broke out.

The government says that the E-Levy - which would see electronic transactions, including mobile payments, face a 1.75% tax - will help to expand the tax base and could raise more than $1 billion next year.

However, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) argues that it will hurt the poor and unbanked.

After weeks of arguments in a parliament where both parties have 137 seats, things turned violent when Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu moved from his seat to vote, prompting NDC members to rush at him.

In footage posted on social media by local newspaper the Daily Graphic, MPs can be seen throwing punches and grappling with each other.

On Tuesday, minority leader Haruna Iddrisu expressed regret, according to Reuters, saying: "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."

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