Gov’t To Tax Profit On Mobile Money Operation
The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu Ekuful is advocating for the government to tax the fees and commissions mobile money operators earn when they conduct mobile money transactions.
At a press conference in Accra, the Minister said the operators generate some GH¢71 million monthly on the transactions, yet that money remains untaxed.
According to her, it should be possible for government to explore revenue opportunities in the mobile money ecosystem suggesting that the mobile money companies should brace up for possible taxation.
‘’Further breakdowns of transaction types for informed policy-making decisions are also possible with the platform… of particular interest to me and this is where the finance minister and I diverge, because I think that the GHS71 million which is generated by the operators in transaction fees they ought to pay taxes on that revenue to the state; we are still having conversations about that,” she said.
“Nobody is talking about actual mobile money transactions that are conducted by individuals. However, I am interested in the revenues that the mobile network operators earn from the transaction fees that own-users of the services pay to them. And I think the GRA [Ghana Revenue Authority] ought to have a conversation with them about that,” she added.
The idea of taxing mobile money transactions was first suggested by the Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, during her vetting in February 2017, where she said it may not be a bad option to generate revenue for government.
Ursula at the time added that, government was yet to consider the decision. This caused a bit of uncertainty among users of mobile money and merchants who kicked against the move.
Interest payments to mobile money users
Following a new policy from the Central Bank, telecom operators began payment of interests to mobile money users from September 11, 2018.
Since then, the telcos make conscious efforts to give mobile money users interests on their money within every three months.
The payment of interests on mobile money wallet followed the numerous concerns by both customers and telecom operators.
Mobile money interoperability takes off
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in May 2018 launched the first phase of the mobile money interoperability system.
Mobile money interoperability, managed by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), was to eliminate the complexities associated with transfers across the various mobile money networks in Ghana, and also reduce the cost of initiating transactions across networks.