The Minority in Parliament has asked government to abort plans of imposing taxes on mobile money transactions in the country.
Speaking at a Breakfast meeting on Monday with stakeholders ahead of the 2018 budget and economic policy in Accra, Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, said they are reliably informed that government is nursing such intentions, something they believe will threaten financial inclusion.
“The intention to tax mobile money transactions, as we are reliably informed, must be aborted immediately since it constitutes a serious threat to financial inclusion and economic growth in Ghana.”Ato Forson also argued that, such a move will adversely affect millions of Ghanaians who use mobile money for daily financial transactions.
“It is also regressive because, compared to the relatively affluent non-core financial services that the NPP removed for the relatively rich, this insensitive ‘mobile money umbrella tax’ will seriously affect millions of Ghanaians who use their telephones to transfer small amounts to relatives.”
The minority made the claim ahead of the 2017 budget statement which is expected to be delivered on Wednesday, November 15, 2017.
Ursula wants mobile money taxed
The idea of taxing mobile money transactions was suggested by the Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful during her vetting in February 2017, where she said it may not be a bad option to generate revenue for government.
But Ursula at the time added that, government was yet to consider the decision.
Ato Forson argued that, taxing mobile money transactions “is an indirect way of taxing transactions such as transfers of school fees and medical bills.
In particular, the NPP must provide some relief to low-income families from this ‘chop money’ transfer tax, as this is nothing more than a backdoor move to reintroduce the taxes they removed last year.”
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Mobile money transactions reach GHc109 billion in first half of 2016
The country’s mobile money transaction for half of 2016, according to the Telecoms Chamber, reached GH¢30 billion with over 80,000 people making a living as agents.
The value for the country’s annual transaction which was GH¢400,000 per annum shot up to GH¢35 billion in 2015.
In 2016, MTN Ghana alone recorded about GH¢56 billion in mobile money transaction.
Figures from the Bank of Ghana suggests that mobile money transactions hit GHc109 billion as at September 2017.
This represents a 112% growth from the 2016 figure.
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana