Ghanaians may soon pay taxes on calls they place on the internet including WhatsApp, Facebook, Viber, Zoom to rake in more revenue for government to fix the broken economy.
The argument is that government is losing big money as many telecommunication customers are moving away from traditional sources of making voice calls and sending text messages.
The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful is reported to have stated at a forum that, stakeholders in the telecommunication sector, especially Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), will be engaged on how government can shore-up its revenue by taxing internet calls.
Addressing the Mobile Technology for Development (MT4D), Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said:
‘We are determined to accelerate the use of digital technology, applications and services at all levels, build and protect our digital infrastructure, and enhance capacity and digital skills acquisition of our youth. As you may be aware, it is only through tax revenue mobilisation that such investments and more can be funded.
‘Currently, government is losing huge revenues from the MNOs to OTT digital service providers as traditional sources of telecoms revenue like voice declines. It is important that we have a frank, open dialogue on this, and explore other sources of revenue within the digital services space to improve government domestic revenue mobilization’.
In 2019, Lebanon’s government scrapped similar plans to tax voice calls made through Facebook and WhatsApp as citizens staged massive nationwide protests against the political elite.
Zambians also kicked against the introduction of a 30 Ngwe ($0.1) levy on internet calls over platforms like WhatsApp, Skype and Viber in 2018.
Obviously, taxes are a necessary evil. Ghanaians are crying over hardship in the country under the second term of President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Fuel prices in Ghana hit one of the highest after pump prices reach GHS 6.50 (equivalent to $1.07) per litre.
The latest figures have sparked outrage among petroleum consumers who have expressed their displeasure through social media hashtag #FixTheCountry.
#FixTheCountry demo is slated for Sunday, May 9, 2021 in Accra.