CST: ‘You got it completely wrong’ – Ursula jabs Ato Forson
Communications minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has hit back at the ranking Member of Parliament’s finance committee, Cassiel Ato-Forson after he asked her to withdraw her illegal order to telcos in Ghana.
She had directed the telcos to stop the upfront deduction of the Communications Service Tax (CST) and treat it as VAT, GETFUND, NHIL and all other levies imposed on entities doing business in Ghana.
But Mr Ato-Forson in a letter to the minister, challenged her authority to order telcos in the country to halt deductions of the controversial (CST).
According to him, the sector minister has no power to issue such administrative orders on how a tax policy should be implemented.
The Ajumako Enyan Essiam MP further advised government to encourage the finance ministry to present an CST Amendment Bill to parliament for the necessary action to be taken if it wants it to be treated like VAT.
In an interview monitored by The Ghana Report, the sector minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said he had the interpretation of the law wrong.
“He’s got it completely wrong. It’s a tax on the user, the user pays the tax. Nowhere does it say that it should be collected upon recharge instantly. When you recharge, you do not use all the recharge instantly and so just as they incrementally deduct all other taxes, they should treat this the same way. He has got it completely wrong with his reading of the law,” she said.
When asked if government will return to parliament to amend the CST Bill to compel the telcos to treat it as VAT, the minister said “there is no need for that to be done. The law as it stands is a user tax just like VAT and NHIL and is paid on usage. And so upfront deductions are wrong and that is what we are asking them to stop”.
Response to withdrawal of 3% increase
Civil Society Organization, the Consumer Advocacy Center had said that government should scrap the 3 percent increase if it claims it is concerned about the negative impact the upfront deductions has on Ghanaians.
But the Communications M,inister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful says that will not happen.
“the tax will not be withdrawn. We need it to secure our cyber security and digital infrastructure. You and I need government to focus on cyber-security. It is foolhardy to think that the cyber criminal will not operate merely because we are not prioritizing cyber-security,” she explained.