Govt bags GHC 470m in taxes saves $1m monthly over previous contracts

Government says it has made an estimated savings of Ghc470million in taxes from under declaration by Telecommunication Companies (Telecos) between the first quarter of 2017 and the last quarter of this year.

The savings follows the implementation of a Common Platform operated by Kelni GVG to track down revenue through traffic inflows of the telecos in the country.

The figure is projected to increase from the current Ghc470million to Ghc1.5billion by 2022 when the contract elapses.

Addressing journalists at the bi-weekly briefings organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra yesterday, the Minister of Communication, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful said the results so far vindicated government’s decision to contract Kelni GVG to execute the job.

She explained that it was detected that a whooping Ghc300million in taxes was lost from potential under declarations between 2015 and the first quarter of 2017.

Mrs Ekuful said government commenced the monitoring of telecos activities based on the establishment of the CP found in Section 14 of the Communication Service Tax Act 2008 (Act 754), as amended by the Communications Service Tax Act 2013 (Act 864).

She explained that the CP had four main components including fraud management, traffic monitoring, revenue assurance and mobile money monitoring, adding that it was under the revenue assurance component that the Ghc470million was made.

Apart from the Ghc470million, she explained that the introduction of the CP had resulted in a savings of $1.1million monthly over the previous contracts and this would result in a total of $66million over the five-year contract period.

“Additionally, unlike the previous contracts, the CP offers real time monitoring of 2.5billion transactions per day within the telecom sector (e.g. calls SMS, Mobile Money transactions, etc.) as well as Mobile Money Monitoring”, she added.

On fraud management, the Minister said a savings of over Ghc205.6million from the beginning of the contract till date.

She said over the life of the contract, the CP was expected to deliver tax savings of approximately Ghc 795.9million and this was as a result of the establishment of the state-of-the-art fraud system known as TELECOP.

“Through this, the CP originates over 150,000 international calls into Ghana every month to detect fraudulent SIMs automatically,” she emphasised.

Mrs Ekuful said the CP reported an average monthly usage of Ghc 29.1billion over 195.8million transactions, with Ghc 71million generated by the operators in transaction fees, with further breakdowns of transaction types for informed policy decision.

She said the CP provided other services to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and these included revenue to government by top-ups, measurement of top-ups per operator by CP and revenue to the operator measured by the CP which is consumption.

“With this, the GRA is now able to verify the various revenue streams of the Mobile Network Operators, plug revenue leakages and more accurately predict revenue trends from the sector for planning and policy formulation,” she stressed.

Mrs Ekuful also used the occasion to assure that, her outfit had concluded consultation with the telecos and within the next 12days, the Communication Service Tax (CST) deducted upfront would be stopped and deductions made already refunded to users.

By Cliff Ekuful

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