The government of Ghana has announced plans to abolish the 20% import duty tax on smartphones by 2015, PC Tech Magazine reports. ‘Communication is shifting from voice to data and mobile data is projected to grow 6.3 times between 2013 and 2018. It is being proposed that in order to increase smartphone penetration, and in line with Government’s policy of bridging the digital divide within the country, import duties on smartphones will be removed. It is expected that the increase in smartphone penetration will increase revenue from communication service tax (CST), value added tax (VAT) and corporate taxes,’ the government said its 2015 budget.
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. Ghanaian mobile operators currently pay a 6% direct tax on all calls under the CST, also known as ‘Talk Tax’, 15% VAT and National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) on international calls.