Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Communications Minister

Imani Ghana’s president, Franklin Cudjoe, has rebuked a directive from the government to telecommunication companies (Telcos), to halt the upfront deduction of the Communications Service Tax (CST).

Mr Cudjoe has subsequently asked the Telcos not to oblige to the directive, saying “the postponement of the tax doesn’t change the amount being paid”.

Speaking on Adom FM’s current affairs show Burning Issues on Monday, October 14, 2019, Mr Cudjoe said the “government does not need huge sums of monies in its hands to fight cybercrime” as it claims.

Earlier on the same show, Deputy Communications Minister, Nenyi George Andah said, the government had increased the CST to fight cybercrime which is on the rise.

“The reason for the increment in the CST is due to the rampant increase in SIM fraud which must be eradicated and the digitization of the various sectors of the economy require about $100m in the first year [which necessitated] the passage of the bill by Parliament so that we can get money to pay for all these”, Mr Andah told host, Akua Boakyewaa Yiadom.

It is on the back of Mr Andah’s claim that Mr Cudjoe said the government had already contracted Kelni GVG to, amongst other responsibilities, fight cybercrime, adding that he did not see the need for the increment in the CST.

“You have imposed the tax, why are you making it look like the Telcos are the ones doing it and the reason the Telcos adopted the upfront deduction is that, subscribers think they [Telcos] are the ones stealing from them just as the minister herself was suggesting”, he said.

Mr Cudjoe has, therefore, asked the Telcos to ignore the government’s threat of withdrawing licenses of defaulting companies since the government would be on the losing side.

“If I were the CEO of MTN, I wouldn’t have obliged to this directive and we would have seen who will suffer the more”, he indicated.

The Imani Ghana president advised that “the Ministry adopts pragmatic ways of solving the problems because there is a lot of public incoherence at the ministry, [and doesn’t understand [why the government is collecting the money in pieces if [it is] in need of money to fight cybercrime”.

Source: Ghana|Adom FM|Felix Anim-Appau