A member of the Communications Committee in Parliament, Sam Nartey George, says the government should be blamed for the imminent increase in the tariffs of the telcos.
He stated that government deliberately set in motion the processes that have culminated in the decision by the telcos to increase the charges on their data and call services from November 1 with the recalibration of the VAT, NHIL and GETFUND levies.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Sam George, who is also the Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, described this move by the government to raise more revenue from the unsuspecting public through the telcos as ‘lazy.’
He noted that although he believes the telcos were making enough money and they are not even fully transparent about their earnings.
“This new tax levy must be placed solely at the doorstep of President Akufo-Addo and the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta. They are the ones who have chosen to go the lazy route in raising revenue by trying to impose a service bill tax. The better alternative would have been government expanding the base of its tax collection. But what it has done is that it has chosen the very lazy options.”
“This increase in the cost of telecommunication is not being brought about by MTN, AirtelTigo or Vodafone but by President Akufo-Addo and Ken Ofori Atta. The extra money is not going to go to the Telcos, it is going to go to government.”
The three telcos have announced that they will increase their tariffs from November 1
Prior to the presentation of the mid-year budget, the Minority had expressed concerns about a reported increase in the Value Added Tax.
The government, however, dismissed these reports, with the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta announcing instead that the National Health Insurance Fund Levy and the GETFund component would be separated from the old 17.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) regime, thereby making the two components straight levies of 2.5 percent each.
The Minority maintained that the recalibration of the levies would still result in an increase in tariffs, and Sam George believes that the announcement by the telcos has vindicated the Minority.
“When it came to the floor of the House, the Minority opposed it. It’s on record that the Minority held a press conference where we indicated that one of the new taxes to be introduced was a tax on communication services but we were told that we were purveyors of doom and we were liars and that we have been swerved. Well, the truth will expose you when you tell a lie; it’s come home to roost now.”
Sam George also alleged that the government plans to impose a tax on mobile money services, a plan he says the Minority will “resist vehemently”
“You cannot continue to take policy decisions that will impede people’s fundamental human right to communicate or transact business.”
The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications which made the announcement in a statement said the increment is in accordance with the implementation of the new tax laws.