Ghana: NDC Calls for Withdrawal of 50 Percent Increase in Communication Services Tax

13 December 2019

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called on government to, as a matter of urgency, withdraw the 50 per cent increase in the Communication Services Tax.

According to Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo Prampram, Samuel Nartey George, the increment has made telecommunications services expensive for both businesses and Ghanaians who use it daily for their daily activities and business operations.

Addressing the seventh edition of the party's Moment of Truth Series in Accra yesterday, he said the trade-off of non expiry of data and tariff increases has also disadvantaged Ghanaians and stiffed affordability.

"The future of the communication space looks very bleak under the current crop of mis-managers. We are calling on President Akufo-Addo to immediately withdraw the 50 per cent increase in CST. The trade-off of non-expiry of data and tariff increases has disadvantaged the Ghanaians more," he stated.

Prior to the 50 per cent increase in the CST, he said, services were affordable but as soon as government reviewed the tax upwards, telecommunication companies also adjusted their charges and that led to the upfront deduction.

"The telcos do not care about us and so does our government. The telcos are interested solely in their bottom lines and profit margins for their shareholders and sadly, the Akufo-Addo government which Ghanaians elected is interested in how much more tax it can take out of our meagre earnings," Mr George added.

He said government's excuse that the reviewed CST was to support the Cyber Security Authority was untenable since no legislation for the Authority has been put before Parliament and passed.

The Cyber Security Authority, he explained, should not only become the burden of taxpayers but private entities including banks which mostly face challenges with cyber attacks.

Mr George argued that government's 50 per cent increase of the CST was a slap in the face of its intentions to promote digitisation adding that "this decision is rather making it more expensive for Ghanaians to access it."

"In this industry the talk about connectivity comes with affordability. When you connect a community and it is not affordable, it is actually financial loss to the state because then the people cannot use it," he ended.

He further demanded a forensic audit of Kelvin GVG's contract and its operations so far.

Mr George urged the Minister of Communication, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful, to show proof of claims that the company has saved the country GH205 million from sim box fraud and detected under invoicing by the telecommunication companies.

"We cannot have four more years of an arbitrary increase in taxation, four more years of the killing of industry and business in the communication sector. Four more years of policy incoherence where Dr Bawumia claims that we are driving digital inclusion and you are increasing the cost of access to inclusion," he added.

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