Telecom operators have strongly opposed any attempt by the government to tax mobile money services in the country.
They argue that the move will be shooting down government’s efforts at achieving a cashlite economy.
The Head of Mobile Money at MTN Ghana, Eli Hini speaking to Citi Business News on the matter said,
“I think for the customer, it is the time to encourage; not the time to disincentivise him or her through taxes.”
The Communications Minister Nominee, Ursula Owusu Ekuful at her vetting hinted that levying mobile money services may not be a bad option.
Madam Ursula was however quick to add that government is yet to consider any such decision.
Citing examples on how the imposition of taxes in the banking sector has somewhat affected the industry, Eli Hini urged that the plan on imposing taxes should be carried out with restraint.
“…We can look at mobile money into the future and also see how mobile money can help the institutions that look at taxes to have proper understanding of our financial system and use it more for planning purposes so that in the data analytics you are able to see how the Ghanaian is growing in terms of his financial interactions and find ways of reaching out to these people and getting them to also contribute their quota,” he stated.
Figures from the Bank of Ghana (BoG) indicate that active mobile money subscribers increased by about seventy percent between 2015 and 2016.
The active mobile money subscribers increased from 4, 868, 569 to 8,313,283 within the one year period.
Also, the total value of transaction more than doubled within the same period. The value of mobile money transactions increased from 35,444.38 million cedis to 78,508.90 million cedis.
But if the decision to tax mobile money services sails through, it will be an affront to the NPP government’s promise to cut down on taxes in a bid to ease the cost of doing business and foster economic growth.