Ghana slashes tariff, VAT on handsets by 10%
This is coming after a lot of agitation from stakeholders. Finance Minister, Seth Terkper announced in the 2015 Budget that government has reduced tariff on imported handsets from 20 to 10 percent in line with the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET).
In addition, government also removed the VAT on imported handsets.This is in sharp contrast to what is happening in Nigeria, where the Federal Government through the National Assembly plans to impose a nine per cent Communications Service Tax on consumers of Information and Communications Technology products and services.
While urging stakeholders in the Ghana telecommunication industry to let the reduction reflect in the prices of phones, the Chief Executive Officer of the Telecoms Chamber, Kwaku Sakyi Addo told Citi Business News that the aim was to make phones available to everybody, including the poor.
“Following our persistent dialogue with government and relevant key stakeholders—particularly the Ministries of Communications, and Finance government tax regime has been aligned with that of the ECOWAS CET, reducing the import duty on handsets from 20 to 10 percent,” he said.
He explained that the purpose for the reduction was to make phones available to all Ghanaians to enhance the drive for expansion of technology and financial inclusion through mobile money.
He pointed out that with the growth of mobile money, the Bank of Ghana’s target of achieving a cashless economic society could be achieved.“As more and more people sign up and become active users, we’ll reduce the need for cash. More and more payments will be made virtually including simply swiping our smartphones in shops to get on buses and planes,” he said.
Presenting some figures from the Bank of Ghana, Addo stated that Mobile Money transaction from January to June this year hit 30 billion cedis, compared to total value of mobile money transaction in the whole of 2015 which was at 35 billion cedis.
“The point here is that our mobile handsets have completely evolved from a telephone—device for basic lip –to-ear communication across distances to a bank for the unbanked,” he stated.