Ghana telecoms chamber to review new bill

By Nana Appaiah Acqauye, Accra, Ghana

The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications is reviewing the Communications Service Tax (CST) Amendment Bill passed by parliament.

In a statement available to Live Business News issued by the Research & Communications Manager Mr.Derek  Laryea, the Chamber of Telecommunications is going to assess the implications of the Bill and then communicate back to Government and, if possible, to inform further consultations before maturing into a law.

Parliament on Tuesday passed the Communications Service Tax (Amendment) Bill but without some of the provisions which had generated controversy. One of the thorny clauses which require people who receive international calls and send and receive messages by electronic mail to pay the equivalent of six US cents per minute has been removed. The bill also saw some amendments proposed by the Member of Parliament for Suhum, Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah (NPP), carried on board.

The bill, which is yet to receive presidential accent, enjoins the Minister of Finance to work in collaboration with the Minister of Communications to establish a monitoring mechanism to verify the actual revenue that accrues to service providers for the purpose of computing taxes due the government.

Also in the bill, any service provider who refuses to provide access to its network for the government or its appointed agents commits an offence and is liable to pay a penalty of five per cent of annual gross revenue of the last audited financial statement of the service provider after the first 30 days and if the situation persists after 90 days, the National Communications Authority (NCA) may revoke the license.

According to the bill, “Any service provider who has an objection to the introduction of any equipment to a physical node on its network shall, within seven days of receiving a request from the Ministry of Finance or its appointed agents, prove before a High Court the reasons for such an objection and how the equipment being introduced offends Subsection (C).”

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