The government of Ghana is reportedly planning to scrap the 20% import duty on mobile, cellular and satellite telephone handsets, which was passed by parliament in mid-2013, BizTech Africa reports. Minister of Finance Seth Terkper stated that the new proposal, which has yet to be presented to parliament for approval, will help increase the country’s smartphone penetration, which currently stands at 15%, while also assisting the government in its policy of bridging the country’s ‘digital divide’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the Customs and Excise Amendment Bill that re-introduced the 20% import duty was enacted in July 2013. Previously, in 2008 the government removed import duties on mobile handsets in order to encourage usage, although the Finance Committee argued that the move did not yield the projected results, since the price of handsets actually increased over the period. The new amendment bill also seeks to create a better environment for local handset manufacturers to compete in the telecoms market, in addition to raising an estimated GHS49.8 million (USD24.14 million) for the treasury’s coffers.