Deputy Minister of Communications George Andah has said that government is exploring the possibility of taxing the income mobile money companies earn from transactions.
Mr. Andah speaking at the Ghana Digital Roadmap event last week said it should be possible for government to explore revenue opportunities in the mobile money ecosystem suggesting that government wants to focus on the mobile money income earned by the telcos and not the individual peeer-to-peer transactions.
While taxing mobile money has been a thorny issue, Mr. Andah’s comments suggest that government is purposely targeting the income the mobile money companies earn from doing individual transactions.
“I think the focus is to understand the value of money that the mobile money operators are making. So, the transactions, cash in-cash out, those monies that the operators are making, government should be able to tax that money. That is the first point of call.
As to whether the actual transactions being made by subscribers should be taxed or nor, we have not started that discussion. But as far as the money they are making from subscribers for transactions they are doing and they are not reporting that as taxable income, we should be able to understand and tax them. This is where the discussion is,” the Deputy Minister said.
The Deputy Minister’s suggestion comes on the back of weak domestic revenue performance, pushing government to look at other sources to boost revenue.
Responding to whether government must first focus on driving the digital ecosystem or seek to explore revenue opportunities inherent in the ecosystem, he explained: “I think they all go hand in hand. I don’t think we need to wait to lose that revenue opportunity. The focus is to drive digital but in driving digital, there are revenue opportunities we cannot turn a blind eye on.”
The use of mobile money continues to grow every day with last year data mobile money grew by 43.2 percent from the previous year, with transaction value hitting over GH¢233billion.
It has even overtaken cheques as the largest payment system in the country, as the value of cheque transactions last year was GH¢203 billion – a sure sign of the looming threats the OBG report has highlighted.