Industry wants less taxation to reward telco investment

15 Mar 2012

The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications is calling for tax incentives for the telecoms industry to avoid market stagnation in the face of declining revenues and growing operational costs. The chamber’s chief executive, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, is reported by GhanaWeb as saying that almost 40% of telcos’ annual revenues go into taxes and levies, and the operators reinvest another 40% in Ghana. He said that MTN alone has so far invested USD1.2 billion, Tigo has invested over USD1.5 billion over the last 20 years, Airtel has invested about USD700 million, while Vodafone bought Ghana Telecom for USD900 million and has since invested another USD500 million. According to the Ghana Statistical Service, 10% of government income in 2010 came from the telecoms industry, and the sector accounted for 2% of GDP and 7% of investments in the country. Among the taxes under scrutiny is a 20% import levy on mobile SIM cards, which are categorised along with flash drives and blank CD/DVD discs as being media which could be used to infringe copyright laws and therefore taxed at a higher rate.