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No more upfront CST deduction – Telecoms Chamber

Telecommunications operators will no more apply upfront deduction of the nine per cent Communication Service Tax (CST) charge.

Rather, the tax would be applied through a tariff adjustment on products and services by the operators.

A statement signed and issued in Accra last Friday by Kenneth Ashigbey, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, said the decision followed an agreement with government to apply the nine per cent CST as a price increase instead of an upfront deduction on recharge.

The statement noted that the reconfiguration of the systems to accommodate the commercial and technical requirements were scheduled for completion by November 26, this year, to offer customers a smooth transition and better experiences.

It stated that telecommunication operators would notify their customers on the completion of the exercise and provide transparency on the adjusted tariffs of their products and services as well as provide information to subscribers post usage of these services.

The statement reiterated the commitment of the telecommunication industry to the socio-economic development of the country, adding that it was their focus and objective.

The telecommunication operators started charging customers the revised CST from October 1, 2019, after the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Attah, announced an increment in the tax from six to nine per cent in the Supplementary Budget.

The Finance Minister in justifying the increment said it was aimed at creating a viable technology ecosystem to among other things identify and combat cybercrime.

The increment, however, stoked public anger when the operators started deducting the tariff upfront the moment a customer loads airtime without even making a call.

Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, in response, instructed the operators to immediately stop upfront deduction and subsequent notification to subscribers.

The Chamber, however, noted that they acted in good faith, arguing that the mobile industry considered the upfront deductions legal and implemented the current CST based on alignment with how the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) calculates and charges the CST.

Meanwhile, it welcomed concerns about the upfront deduction and engaged the government for a solution.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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