Ghana’s government has submitted a draft bill to its parliament seeking to impose an additional 6% interconnection fee on incoming international calls, Ventures Africa reports. According to the article, mobile operators currently pay 15% value added tax (VAT) and National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) on international calls, and the hike in the Communication Service Tax (CST), also known as ‘Talk Tax’, will reportedly result in operators passing the new fee on to customers. Additionally, the draft bill proposes the re-introduction of 20% import taxes on mobile handsets to protect local manufactures of mobile phones, expecting to raise an estimated GHS49.8 million (USD24.14 million) for the treasury. The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, which represents all the country’s wireless operators, said in a statement that it is dissatisfied with the CST amendment bill, as it would pose difficulties to operators and might hamper investment required for the expansion of infrastructure.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in March 2012 the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications called for tax incentives for the telecoms industry to avoid market stagnation in the face of declining revenues and growing operational costs. The chamber’s chief executive, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, claimed that almost 40% of telcos’ annual revenues were going into taxes and levies, and the operators were reinvesting another 40% in Ghana. He said that MTN alone had so far invested USD1.2 billion, Tigo had invested over USD1.5 billion over the last 20 years, Airtel had invested about USD700 million, while Vodafone bought Ghana Telecom for USD900 million and had since invested another USD500 million.