Telcos Withdraw CST
Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications has announced it has agreed with the government to stop the upfront deduction of the Communication Service Tax (CST) which has bedevilled mobile subscribers in the country.
“The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications wishes to inform mobile subscribers and the general public that, following fruitful discussions between government and industry; an agreement to stop upfront deduction of CST but rather apply the tax through a tariff adjustment has been reached,” the Chamber said in a statement.
It would be recalled the Ministry of Communication directed the National Communication Authority (NCA) to have all mobile phone network operators stop deducting the nine per cent CST upfront and also stop sending customers notifications of the CST deductions but that did not sit well with the telcos.
The ministry said in a statement on Friday, 11 October 2019 that: “To minimise the negative impact of the current mode of deduction of the CST, the Ministry of Communication hereby directs the immediate implementation of the following measure: CST should be treated the same way VAT, NHIL, GETFUND levy and all other taxes and levies imposed on entities doing business in Ghana are treated”.
“These extraordinary upfront deductions of CST and notification of same to the subscribers must stop with immediate effect,” the ministry added. The ministry also ordered the telcos to stop giving expiry dates to bundled data.
“All unused data and voice bundles purchased by subscribers do not expire and must be rolled over with the next recharge”, the statement ordered, adding: “MNOs [Mobile Network Operators] will be subjected to strict compliance with existing Quality of Service (QoS) standards to ensure value for the subscribers’ money in accordance with their licence obligations.”
Some members of the Minority including Ningo Prampram Member of Parliament (MP) Sam Nartey George asked the government to stop intimidating the telcos and instead reverse what he described as the “nuisance” increase in the CST.
The Chamber in its statement said despite this arrangement to stop upfront deductions, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) will still calculate and account for the CST as an upfront charge.
“The price increase will take effect by November 26th 2019, as the industry requires a number of weeks to complete the reconfiguration of our systems to accommodate the commercial and technical requirement that the exercise necessitates to ensure an even smooth experience for customers,” the statement explained.