Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has defended an $89 million contract awarded to Kelni GVG to operate revenue assurance and traffic monitoring centre for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).
The company was awarded the contract by government for the design, development and implementation of a common platform for traffic monitoring, revenue assurance, and mobile money monitoring and fraud management.
For a long time, the contract stirred controversy because critics said Afriwave and Subah Info Solutions were already providing the services that Kelni GVG has been contracted to provide.
Other industry watchers described the contract as a wasteful one aimed at stealing from the public purse. A key critic of the contract at the time was IMANI Africa, a policy think tank.
But at a press conference Thursday, the Communications Minister revealed that an estimated GH¢470 million in taxes has been saved since the first quarter of 2017 to date.
She said that after March 20, 2017, when the new contract came into force, there had been a marked difference in the Value Added Tax (VAT) and National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) declared by the mobile network operators to the regulator, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
“The question that one should ask is: what has happened between prior to March 2017 to post-March 2017 for us to witness those wide revelations in the declarations made on VAT and CST [Communications Service Tax] to the GRA.
“We state categorically that the only contributing factor was the establishment of a common platform and so the differences that have been noticed to the positive benefits that the common platform has brought today,” she told journalists.
She said the savings of GH¢470 million has happened because of the proper declarations of taxes by the MNOs to the GRA.
“It vindicates the resolve of the government to give effect to the law by putting in place the common monitoring platform to verify actual declarations of VAT and CST and other taxes in the sector and ensure that all the players in the sector pay their actual due to the ex-checker,” she stressed.