Taxation on mobile money will undermine investment —General Manager, MTN

Dignitaries who attended the forum

Dignitaries who attended the forum

Mr Eli Hini, General Manager of MTN Mobile Financial Services, says the introduction of mobile money services has seen transformational growth and leading the way towards a cash-lite society.

He said mobile money has had a significant impact on the agriculture value chain in the country, particularly within the cocoa industry, including ease of payments, lower cost of operations, safe and convenient way of receiving payments and digitising the value chain.

Mr Hini, who was speaking at MTN Momo stakeholders forum held in Accra on Wednesday said Ghana leads the way in West Africa with a massive drive from cash to digital payments through the use of mobile money.

The event was on the topic, ‘Digitisation payment in Ghana: The implications of additional taxes on mobile money transactions’.

He said taxation on mobile money would undermine investment when mobile operators were already under significant cost pressure to expand networks, improve service quality, and address new regulatory requirements.

“Taxation will undermine financial inclusion because mobile money contributes heavily to financial inclusion as it enables more efficient payments for goods and services, reduces the informal economy, creates employment and protects vulnerable segments of society from financial shocks,” Mr Hini said.

He urged government to consider enabling the growth of mobile money services by digitising the payment of fees, rates, taxes, and levies due from the taxpayer rather than levying taxes on the fledgling mobile money industry.

This, Mr Hini said, could expand revenue mobilisation and support the growth of the mobile money sector.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman Kwarteng, the Deputy Minister of Finance said the government had not made any decision to impose additional taxes on mobile money transactions as suggested in the public domain.

He said even if government intends to impose taxes on mobile money that would be done in consultation with stakeholders in the sector for better dialogue to ensure mutual and amicable understanding devoid of any altercations.

He said the government recognises that mobile money represents the best bet for achieving financial inclusion and would not do anything to hurt their operations since they complement government in developing the economy.

He said government believed in the private sector as the engine for economic growth and job creation and would create the needed enabling environment for businesses to thrive and expand.

Dr Maxwell Opoku-Afari, the First Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana, said their outfit in 2015 introduced guidelines for electronic users in financial services to ensure sanity in the system, urging MTN and other telecommunication industries to utilise the use of ICT in their operations.

He said government is working to introduce an instant pay system for smooth and efficient transactions of passport, registration and other services.

Mrs Abena Osei-Poku, the Managing Director of Barclays Bank Ghana, said the role of digitisation payment cannot be overlooked in that it boosts job creation, increase investment and human capital.

She urged government to call for stakeholder engagement before imposing additional taxes on mobile money transactions so that the informal sectors are not shortchanged.

She said the banks recognise the mobile money transactions as collaborators in achieving financial inclusion, adding that digitisation of payment has helped to overcome fiscal balance and as well promote economic empowerment.

 

 

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