Telcos set date to end deduction of customers’ airtime upfront for Talk Tax

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have asked the Ministry of Communications to give them six to eight weeks to reconfigure their systems to enable them comply with the new directive to halt the upfront deduction of the talk tax (CST).

The Mobile Network Operators in October started the implementation of the 3 per cent increase in the Talk Tax by deducting it upfront.

The developement was greeted with protest from sections of the public which subsequently pushed the Communication Ministry to direct the telcos to halt the upfront deduction of the tax.

Briefing the press on Monday, the Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful said failure by the Telcos to comply with the directive – not to pass 3% increase in Talk Tax to customers, would attract punitive measures such as the withdrawal of their licenses.

“All users of goods and services in this country are also required to pay VAT, NHIL and GETFund levy. How are those deducted? Well the Telcos can say that they haven’t been passing on the CST and so they thought that that was the easiest mode in which to do and make it easier to account for.

“They are asking for six to eight weeks to enable them reconfigure their intelligence network systems to be able to apply the tax… and so they should reconfigure their systems and treat it the same way they treat other taxes and levies that they are required to collect and pass unto the tax authorities,” she said.

According to the Communications Minister, the Electronic Communications Act gives the minister the authority to give policy directives to the regulator in the management of the industry and thus she was not interfering in the business of the Telcos.

ALSO READ: Ghana to pay more on communication through increased talk tax

She said anyone who deemed it as an illegality on her part “can challenge it at the proper forum.”

“I don’t see how this can be an illegal directive. The electronic communications act gives the minister the authority to give policy directives to the regulator in the management of this industry. It doesn’t prescribe the manner in which this policy directive should be given or limit the scope of the policy directives. And so those who are saying that it is illegal, I’ll urge them, if they like to challenge it in the proper forum and we will engage them accordingly,” she said.

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