Telecos in Ghana advocates for the removal of the $0.19 on all international incoming minutes and allow the market to determine the tariff, here's why

The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications has asked the government to remove the surcharge on incoming international traffic (SIIT).

Telecos in Ghana advocates for the removal of the $019 on all international incoming minutes and allow the market to determine the tariff, here's why

This, the chamber said, is because the fraudsters are currently leveraging and exploiting the arbitrage between the international rate of 19 cents and local rate of 10Gp per minute.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chamber of Telecommunications, Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, said this while in an interview with Accra based Daily Graphic.

“We have made presentations to the government on the issue on several occasions and are still engaged to ensure that we deal with the issue.

“Within this much-liberalised economy, we should remove the $0.19 on all international incoming minutes and allow the market to determine the tariff. We need to take out the arbitrage that currently exists,” he said.

State loses GH¢3m monthly to SIM box fraud

Mr Ashigbe further noted that the state is losing more than GH¢3 million a month to this illegal scheme that diverts international calls into local ones.

Known as sim box fraud, he said the illegality is perpetrated by Ghanaians and their international partners who route international calls through the Internet and terminate them on local mobile phone numbers to attract local charges.

The mechanism denies the government the necessary revenue from international calls.

Beyond the monthly losses, activities of the fraudsters have also led to a decline in International Direct Dialling (IDD) revenue from as high as GH¢222 million in 2012 to about GH¢56 million, which is projected for the end of 2019, a 74 per cent reduction.

The CEO of the chamber added that the fraudsters were now employing newer and more improved technologies to help mask their locations and make it difficult to trace their whereabouts.

“In CLI masking, the offending operator manipulates the calling party number to make it look as if it were a local call,” he explained.

This means that telecom operators in the country would not be able to bill the appropriate rate for such transactions, he said, adding that the difference then went to the fraudsters through their international counterparts.

Mr Ashigbey, however, said some telcos had also adopted advanced technology to ruthlessly deal with the emerging phenomenon.

“Our members have to ensure that we are also ahead of the curve so that we can arrest these fraudsters, but it requires investments in new technologies, systems and processes to counter the fraudsters,” he said.

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