Imposition of additional taxes will derail cash-lite agenda – MTN

The imposition of additional taxes on Mobile Money service will impact negatively on the industry and force people to resort to cash transactions, General Manager of Mobile Money Limited, Eli Hini has said.

That, he said, would derail the government ‘cash-lite’ and digital payment agenda of promoting financial inclusion in the country and stifle innovation and growth of the industry.

Mr Hini was speaking at the 2019 Mobile Money stakeholder conference held in Accra under the theme, ‘The role of regulation in sustaining the growth of mobile financial services in Ghana.’

The programme formed part of activities to mark the 10th anniversary of the MTN Mobile Money service in the country.

Mr Hini explained that already the “relevant taxes are being paid by customers who use mobile money service just like any other means of payment,” all the players in the mobile money value chain paid taxes on their business operations.

“Implementation of additional taxes will have negative ripple effect on the service and other related industries,” he said.

The General Manager intimated that the industry needed to be nurtured to grow instead of being saddled with taxes.

Mr Hini said Uganda saw a huge drop of about 33 per cent drop in the adoption of mobile money services in three months and a revenue loss of $1.2 billion when the government imposed huge taxes on the industry.

The General Manager said the current mobile money wallet size of GHȻ2000 was too small and entreated the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to review it.

Mr Hini said the minimum paid-up capital for players in the mobile money industry should be critically looked at by the BoG, stressing that the minimum paid-up capital should not serve as disincentive for participation of new entrants into the industry.

To ensure the security and safety of transactions of the MTN mobile money services, the General Manager said an agent registry would soon be introduced to keep a database of all the agents of the company, saying the agents who were not complying with the rules of the company would be blacklisted.

The African Director of GSMA, Akinwale Goodluck commended Ghana for the inroads it was making in the mobile money industry, saying Ghana was currently considered a leader in the deployment of mobile money services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He attributed Ghana’s sterling growth in the mobile money sector to regulations and good co-operation of the regulator of the industry.

Mr Akinwale however, cautioned government about the introduction of additional taxes on the mobile money industry, saying the “sector should be allowed to grow and when the sector grows big government can raise the necessary revenue it needs from the sector”.

The Director of Research at the bank of Mr Philip A. Otoo said his outfit would continue to develop better policies to help the mobile money industry to grow.

He said currently the Bank of Ghana was developing regulations on the new Payment System and Services Act (Act 987) and all the concerns raised by the mobile money industry players such as minimum paid-capital and the need to increase the wallet size of mobile money would be considered.

Mr Otoo said the Payment System and Services law was a “game-changer” in promoting the mobile money industry.

By Kingsley Asare

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