The Akufo-Addo government has hinted that it might direct its focus to taxing whatsapp, zoom and facebook calls after it succeeded in introducing a 1.5% tax on electronic transactions.
The new tax, identified as Over-The-Top (OTT) digital services intends to address the shortfall in projected government revenue after the introduction of the infamous talk tax.
This was revealed by Communications and Digitalization Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful while addressing the Mobile Technology for Development (MT4D) conference in Accra.
Explaining the government’s latest tax invention, Madam Owusu-Ekuful said tax revenue from traditional voice call services from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are dwindling because people are now drifting away and are 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,” the minister explained.
Currently, government is losing huge revenues from the MNOs to OTT digital service providers as traditional sources of telecoms revenue like voice declines. It is important that we have a frank, open dialogue on this, and explore other sources of revenue within the digital services space to improve government domestic revenue mobilization,” Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said.
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.
WhatsApp, Zoom, Facebook, and Skype among others are all OTT digital services platforms.