Telecom Chamber engages Parliament over allegation of under tax declaration against telcos
Ghana’s Telecom Chamber has revealed that it will soon be seeking an audience with Parliament through the Select Committee on Communications to engage them adequately over allegations of under tax declaration brought against mobile network operators in the country.
The Chamber believes that such allegations not only have serious reputational effects on the businesses of its members both in and out of Ghana but also hurts investor confidence and lowers the entire image of the industry before the general public.
Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful had earlier told legislators in an accusatory tone on the floor of parliament that through the implementation of the Common Platform (CP) run by KelniGVG, the government "uncovered that, prior to the introduction of the CP, GHS 470 million in taxes was lost from potential under declarations between 2015 to the first quarter of 2017.
An estimated amount of GHS 300 million in taxes was saved between Q1 of 2017 to date as a result of the announcement of the implementation of the CP on March 8th, 2017 and its actual implementation date.”
But the Chief Executive Officer of the Telecom Chamber, Kenneth Ashigbey in statement available to Biztech Africa debunked the claims and maintained that the ongoing working relationship between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), National Communications Authority (NCA) and/or their technical partner KelniGVG regarding the Common Platform does not support these allegations.
He also expressed worry about the continuous recurrence of the minister’s claim, and the fact that standard audit principles and practice that characterize its member’s dealings with regulators continue to be breached.
“We have requested since the 19th of November 2019, that this very report detailing these alleged tax misconducts as being espoused by the Ministry be brought to our urgent attention, but this request has not been met till date and our engagements with the Ministry and Regulators over the last nine months has never contained such an agenda for discussion,” he said.
Dr. Ashigbey could not fathom why the Communications Minister would point accusing fingers at telcos for under-declaration of tax knowing very well the rigorous financial reporting procedures within the telecoms industry, coupled with regular audits by the GRA as well as periodic ones by the NCA.
“We have been working prior to the CP and now with the regulator to minimize the incidence if not eliminate them completely. To this end, we are humbly entreating the Government to engage with our members and all other industry players on serious reputational issues such as these before conclusions are drawn and same circulated with the public,” he added.