The Akufo-Addo led-government has hinted that it might direct its focus to taxing WhatsApp, Zoom as well as Facebook calls after it succeeded in introducing and implementing a 1.5% tax on electronic transactions (E-Levy).
The new tax, identified as Over-The-Top (OTT) digital services seeks to address the shortfall in projected government revenue after the introduction of the infamous talk tax.
This was announced by the Minister for Communications and Digitalization, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful when addressing the Mobile Technology for Development (MT4D) Conference held in Accra.
Giving the explanation of the government’s latest tax creation, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said tax revenue from traditional voice call services from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) were declining because people were now drifting away and were resorting more to OTT services in order to cut communications cost.
“We are determined to accelerate the use of digital technology, applications and services at all levels, build and protect our digital infrastructure, and enhance the capacity and digital skills acquisition of our youth. As you may be aware, it is only through tax revenue mobilisation that such investments and more can be funded,” she emphasized.
According to her, the government was currently losing huge revenues from the MNOs to OTT digital service providers as traditional sources of telecoms revenue like voice declines.
She added that it was, therefore, important that the country keep a candid and open dialogue on this while exploring other sources of revenue within the digital services space to improve government domestic revenue mobilization.
OTT digital services are media services offered directly to telecommunication customers via the Internet rather than traditional channels of signal delivery such as cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms. They include the likes of WhatsApp, Zoom, Facebook, and Skype among others.