Sunday, 24 November 2019

MoMo tax: Telcos ready to fight gov’t

 Image result for Patricia Obo-Nai

Adnan Adams Mohammed

Government’s gradual effort to tax Mobile Money profits of the Telecommunication companies in the country is likely to hit the snarl as stakeholders prepared to fight any of such idea or policy.

Adding up to the strong position of the Telecom Chamber is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vodafone Ghana, Patricia Obo-Nai, who has said for Ghana’s digital market to grow, government should desist from taxing mobile money operations.

The Telecom operators and other experts have argued that, taxing mobile money operations will only discourage its usage in the country which she said was unhealthy for the growth of the country’s digital market.

“If you ask me, I still think the industry is still young. If you tax mobile money you won’t get the penetration you require,” Vodafone Ghana CEO said during a radio interview, last week.

She explained that the mobile money industry has the least penetration although awareness has been high in the country.

Although the World Bank in June described Ghana as the fastest growing mobile money market in Africa with registered accounts increasing 6 folds, the CEO believes that more should be done to encourage its penetration.

According to her, penetration stands below average, at a percentage of about 45% with many Ghanaians not using the service.

The Minister of Communication, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, is pushing for the taxing of profits made from mobile money (MoMo) transactions by the telecommunication companies in Ghana.

According to the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ablekuma West constituency, the telcos are able to generate GHS71 million in profits per month and that must be taxed.

“This is of particular interest to me but this is where the Finance Minister and I diverge because I think that GHS71 million which is generated by the operators in transaction fees, they ought to pay taxes on that revenue to the State,” she said at a press conference in Accra, last week, as she revealed: “We are still having conversations about that”.

Meanwhile, the minister has disclosed that the state has managed to make tax savings of GHS205.6 million in fraud management following the introduction of the Common Platform.

On mobile money monitoring, the minister said the platform has reported an average monthly usage of GHS 29.1 billion, 195.8 million transactions, with GHS71 million generated by the operators in transaction fees, with further breakdowns of transaction types for informed policy decision making.

According to the minister, the introduction of the Common Platform has uncovered that prior to its introduction, GHS300 million in taxes was lost from potential under-declarations between 2015 to Q1 of 2017.

“An estimated GHS470 million in taxes was saved between Q1 of 2017 to date as a result of the announcement of the implementation of the CP on March 8th, 2017 and its actual implementation to date. There would have been a potential loss of a total of GHS1.5 billion through to the end of the CP contract, had the CP not been implemented”, she said.

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