Chairman of Parliament's Finance Committee, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah has taken a swipe at telecommunication companies over their mode of implementing the 9% increment in the Communication Service Tax (CST).
According to him, the operation of the Telcos is a deliberate strategy to make the government unpopular.
Many have complained about the immediate tax deduction after consumers recharge, followed by a text message.
For instance, a recharge of GHc 10 worth of talk time gives consumers GHc9.2 as a result of the tax.
Speaking to Citi News after an Article IV consultation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday, Dr. Assibey Yeboah questioned the motive of the Telcos for implementing the tax in such a manner.
“Somebody is being disingenuous. Previously, they didn’t state it explicitly that if you buy airtime, they take 6 percent and as to why they didn’t state it I don’t know. Somebody thinks that it will make the government unpopular. Now people are complaining. But they were getting 9.40p from Ghc10 airtime just that it wasn’t stated. So somebody is trying to make government unpopular because the actual increase of the tax is just 50 percent.”
“The telcos want to make gov’t unpopular because why didn’t send the text mages of the deduction when the tax was 6 percent. They were paying the government and we knew how much we were collecting from them so if any body tells me they were absolved by the Telcos, then that is absurd”, he fumed.
Ghanaians begun paying more for communication services following the implementation of the 9% Communication Services Tax on October 1, 2019.
The tax, which was hitherto pegged at 6% was increased to 9% when the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced the decision in Parliament in July 2019 during the presentation of the 2019 mid-year budget review.
According to the government, the increase in the tax was to help develop the foundation for a viable technology ecosystem in the county.
It also comprises putting in systems to identify and combat cybercrime, protect users of information technology and combat money laundering and other financial crimes.
The effect of this development on customers according to Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications is that “for every ¢1 of recharge purchased, a 9% CST fee will be charged leaving ¢0.93 for the purchase of products and services.”