The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications is requesting an audit report that suggests that some telcos in the country under-declared taxes from 2015 to March 2017.
The Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, while addressing the media announced that the implementation of the KelniGVG’s revenue assurance and traffic monitoring centre for Mobile Network Operators saved the country GH¢1.5 billion in “potential tax under declaration”.
She said the information on those who under-declared taxes had been forwarded to the Ghana Revenue Authority, GRA, to investigate and take the necessary steps.
In a statement signed by the CEO of the Chamber, Kenneth Ashigbey, in reaction to the assertions by the Minister, the Chamber stated that the claims have not been brought to the attention of the telcos.
It added that “on the contrary, interim reports received from the Ghana Revenue Authority regarding the Common Platform do not support these allegations”.
The Chamber stressed that its members rather have an exemplary record of tax compliance and delivering on their tax obligations.
“Financial reporting procedures for the industry are rigorous and these include regular audits by the GRA as well as periodic ones by the National Communications Authority,” the chamber said, adding that there is another assessment by blue-chip external auditors, a firm with with world class reputation.
The chamber says it has written to the GRA to furnish its members with the report to enable the telcos review and respond appropriately to the issue.
It warned that the effect of non-consultations is dire to the growth of the industry and investor confidence in the market, hence there must be collaboration between the regulator and the telcos.
“We will entreat government through the GRA to engage our members and other industry players on serious reputational issues such as these before conclusions are drawn and same circulated with the public”.
The Minister addressing the media in Accra stated that prior to the introduction of the KelniGVG’s platform, more than GHS 300 million in taxes was lost from potential under-declarations between 2015 to the first quarter of 2017.
She said that after March 2017, when the new contract came into force, there had been a notable improvement in the Value Added Tax and National Health Insurance Levy declared by the mobile network operators to the regulator, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
“The question that one should ask is: what has happened between prior to March 2017 to post-March 2017 for us to witness those wide revelations in the declarations made on VAT and CST [Communications Service Tax] to the GRA.
KelniGVG was in 2017 awarded the contract by the government for the design, development, and implementation of a common platform for traffic monitoring, revenue assurance, and mobile money monitoring and fraud management in the telecom sector.
Justifying the government’s decision to award the US$89 million to KelniGVG, the Communications Minister stated that CP has resulted in a savings of US$1.1 million monthly over the previous contracts, resulting in a total of US$66 m over the 5 year contract period.
“Additionally, unlike the previous contracts, the CP offers real-time monitoring of 2.5 billion transactions per day within the telecom sector (e.g. Calls, SMS, Mobile money transactions, etc.) as well as Mobile Money Monitoring as an added component,” the Communications Minister added.