Telcos head to parliament over tax under-declaration claims

The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications is expected to hold a meeting with parliament over claims its member companies under-declare taxes.

This claim was made follows by the Minister of Communication, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.

The MP for Ablekuma West told Parliament that GHC 1.5 billion had been saved in the sector since the government’s implementation of a system to verify the revenues generated by telcos through their calls traffic.

Known as the Common Platform (CP),  it was implemented in 2017.

She added that an estimated GHS 300 million in taxes has also saved between the first quarter of 2017 to date as a result of the announcement of the implementation of the CP on March 8, 2017.

“The introduction of the CP has uncovered that, prior to the introduction of the policy, GHC 470 million in taxes was lost from potential under-declarations between 2015 to the first quarter of 2017”, she added.

But the Ghana Telecoms Chamber has rejected the claims.

Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Kenneth Ashigbey, told theghanareport.com  that the telcos would seek to engage Parliament’s Committee on Communications for further details on the report conducted by the Ministry before arriving at the figure.

Dr Kenneth Ashigbey said that the minister had made similar comments in 2019 but failed to provide them with audited statements or engage telcos on those claims.

“We are writing to the Committee on Communication of Parliament to seek an audience with them because this is something the Minister said in a press conference sometime in November and ever since we wrote to the Ministry (but) they have not written back to us,” he revealed.

He maintained that “so far as we are concerned, there has been no under-declaration, and we will put that to parliament.”

The Chamber has said that the ongoing working relationship between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), National Communications Authority (NCA) and KelniGVG (the company that implemented the platform) “does not support these allegations”.

The telcos hold the view that the best practice in revenue assurance is to share findings with the telcos and seek to their response so differences can be reconciled.

Discussions over the matter were revived after MP for Ningo-Prampram submitted a question in parliament for answers on the work of KelniGVG, the company awarded the $89m contract to monitor the revenue of telecommunication companies independently.

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