Ghana: Telecos Reduce Momo Charges By 25 Percent ... to Reduce Impact On E-Levy - Finance Minister

21 January 2022

The telecommunications companies in the country have offered to cut mobile money charges by 25 per cent to provide financial relief to subscribers, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has announced.

This for instance, means that the GHc1.00 charged for sending GHc100.00 will now be reduced to GHC0. 75p.

Mr Ofori-Atta disclosed this at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday to brief the citizens about the developments in the economy and the E-Levy, and said the move was to reduce the overall net impact of the E-Levy on mobile money consumers.

He said the E- Levy was a necessary tool to increase the country's Tax to Gross Domestic Ratio from around 13 per cent to 16 per cent.

"The E-Levy would not only ensure that we move towards a more sustainable debt level but would also ensure that we have the revenues to sustainably invest in entrepreneurship, youth employment, cyber security, digital and road infrastructure," Mr Ofori-Atta said.

He said digitalisation was eroding the traditional resilience of brick and mortar enterprises, stressing that with fewer transactions happening across the counter, there was an increased risk that some of the standard revenue generation and tax measures would gradually become obsolete.

"Indeed, except for Excise duties, the various tax types experienced a marked decline in growth between 2019 and 2020. Domestic Value Added Tax (VAT), for instance, which has traditionally been a significant component of Ghana's tax framework, increased by three per cent between 2019-2020, compared to 29 per cent between 201 and 2019," Mr Ofori-Atta, said.

The Finance Minister said the E-Levy was borne out of a careful study of current trends in the rapidly evolving digital age and was specific on the transactions on which it will be applied.

"After extensive consultations, the E-levy will be re-submitted to Parliament this month. We look forward to joining hands with Members of Parliament to approve the E-Levy on a consensus basis so we can collectively address the big issue of unemployment," Mr Ofori-Atta said.

He said the Ministry of Finance had had consultations on the E-Levy with faith-based organisations, the banks and Chamber of Telecommunications, civil society organisations after the 2022 budget was presented to Parliament.

"A team comprising myself, colleague ministers and other key members of government have started public engagement and sensitisation campaign across the country. We intend to communicate clearly on the proposed mechanics of the E-levy, its potential benefits to the people of Ghana within the spirit of burden sharing that must guide us in our development efforts as we move Ghana Beyond Aid," Mr Ofori-Atta said.

Among others, the Finance Minister said the E-Levy would cover Mobile Money Transfers between accounts on the same electronic money issuer (EMI) such as Mobile Money transfers from an account on one EMI to a recipient on another EMI, transfers from bank accounts to mobile money accounts, transfer from mobile money accounts to bank accounts; and bank transfers on a digital platform or application which originate from a bank account belonging to an individual to another individual.

"I emphasise that E-Levy will not impact cumulative transfers of GHC 100 per day made by the same person, transfers between accounts owned by the same person, transfers for the payment of taxes, fees, and charges on the Ghana.gov platform, electronic clearing of cheques, specified merchant payments (i.e. payments to commercial establishments registered with GRA for Income Tax and VAT purposes); and transfers between principal, master-agent, and agent's accounts," Mr Ofori-Atta said.

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