Minister accuse telcos of attempting to hide GHC1.5 bn but for Kelni-GVG

Ursula Owusu Ekuful

Government claims it has made savings of GHc1.5 billion in alleged under-declared taxes by the telecommunications industry players since the implementation of the Common Platform (CP) 2017.

“The introduction of the CP has uncovered that, prior to the introduction of the policy, GHC470 million in taxes was lost from potential under declarations between 2015 to the first quarter of 2017”, the Minister of Communication, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful revealed.

Telcos flatly deny Minister’s hidden revenue allegation, challenges her to provide evidence

Answering questions on the floor of Parliament today, the Minister said an estimated amount of GHC300 million in taxes was also saved between the first quarter of 2017 to date, as a result of the implementation of the CP on March 8th, 2017.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful again revealed that through the deployment of sophisticated, up-to-date fraud management systems, the CP was able to use its partners abroad to generate over 150,000 international calls into the country every month to detect fraudulent SIMs.

This, she said, has saved the country an additional GHC327.3 million, which would have gone into the pockets of SIM Box fraudsters, but for the intervention of the CP in 2017.

“Over the life of the contract, the CP is expected to deliver tax savings of approximately GHS 799.6 millionthe Minister stated.

On Mobile Money Monitoring, the Minister disclosed that the CP has reported GHS 63.6 billion from 307.1 million transactions for the month of July 2020 alone, with GHS 104.6 million generated by the operators in transaction fees.

She thinks the GHS104.6 million mobile money transaction fees should be taxes to shore up government’s tax revenue from the industry.

Giving further benefits that the implementation of the CP has accrued to the country, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful also mentioned that the policy has resulted in savings of $1.1 million monthly over the previous contracts, and that is expected to result in in a total of $66 million in savings over the 5-year contract period.

Under the previous NDC administration, the NCA was paying $915,969 to Afriwave, while the GRA was paying $1,675,492 to Subah, bringing the total payments to $2,591,462 monthly.

The NCA, she said, now pays $596,490 and the GRA $894,735, a total of $1,491,225 to service providers.

“Additionally, unlike the previous contracts, the CP offers real time monitoring of 2.5 billion transactions per day within the telecom sector such as calls, SMS, Mobile money transactions and other transactions.

Under Section 14 of the Communications Services Tax Act 2008 (Act 754), as amended by Section 7 of the Communications Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013, Act 864 mandated the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Communications to establish a common platform as a mechanism for verifying the actual revenues that accrue to service providers for the purpose of computing taxes due to Government under Act 864 and revenues accruing from levies under Act 775 as amended by Act 786 of 2009.

Pursuant to this, KelniGVG was contracted on 27th December, 2017 to build and operate a Common Monitoring Platform (CMP) which is an integrated single platform connecting to nodes in the networks of all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the Interconnect Clearinghouse (ICH) where traffic and revenues can be monitored.

The National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) are the implementing agencies and beneficiaries of this project.

The CP has four main components, that is fraud management, traffic Monitoring, revenue assurance & mobile money monitoring.


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