Ghana's Communications Minister pushes for taxes on profits made on mobile money transactions, here's why

Ghana’s Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has suggested to the revenue authority to tax Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for the profit they make on mobile money transactions.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

According to her, the operators generate some GH¢71 million monthly on the transactions, yet that money remains untaxed.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said this at a press conference in Accra on Thursday, November 14, 2019.

She said, “This is of particular interest to me but this is where the Finance Minister and I diverge because I think that 71 million [cedis] which is generated by the operators in transaction fees, they ought to pay taxes on that revenue to the State.”

Adding that “We are still having conversations about that.”

Data from the Bank of Ghana last year showed that mobile money transactions increased from GH¢155 billion to GH¢233 billion representing 43% growth in just a year.

It also showed that the volume of transactions on the mobile money platform increased from 2017 to 2018 reached GH¢1.4 billion.

The value of transactions had also seen a significant increase from 2012 to 2018. For instance, in 2012 total transactions, reached GH¢594 million and increased significantly every year to hit GH¢233 billion in 2018.

In June, the World Bank declared Ghana the fastest-growing mobile money market in Africa with registered accounts increasing six-fold.

This translates into huge profits for telecom companies and the Communications Minister, hence, wants to ensure that the State does not miss out on revenue from the sector.

"Nobody is talking about actual mobile money transactions that are conducted by individuals. However, I am interested in the revenues that the mobile network operators earn from the transaction fees that own-users of the services pay to them,” the Minister said.

“And I think the GRA [Ghana Revenue Authority] ought to have a conversation with them about that,” she added

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