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Ghana saves $1m monthly after establishing a telecos common platform – Minister

Mrs. Ursula Owusu Ekuful

Ghana has saved $1.1 million monthly after mounting a Common Platform to monitor the activities of the telecommunications sector, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications, has said,

The platform would also save the state $66 million by the end of the five-year contract signed between the government and the Kelni GVG.

Government of Ghana signed a contract with the Kelni GVG, a Haitian ICT firm, in December 2017, to monitor traffic, fraud management and plug revenue leakages, as well as verify mobile money transactions of the telecommunication companies in the country.

The signing of the contract generated a lot of public debate, with some civil society organisations and individuals raising concerns about lack of transparency of the contract amount and the speed at which it was rushed through parliament for approval.

However, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, who addressed journalists at a media briefing in Accra, said the revenues saved by the state had vindicated government’s position on the establishment of the platform.

“From the gains mentioned above, the platform has provided more value to the state at a lesser amount compared to the previous contract with Subah and Afriwave,” Mrs Owusu-Ekuful noted.

The Minister noted that apart from saving the nation millions of dollars, the platform also offered real-time monitoring of 2.5 billion transactions per day within the telecom sector, including calls, SMS and monitoring of mobile money transactions as an added component.

Besides, the platform saved the nation GH¢205.6 million from the fraud management component since its inception and expected to deliver tax savings of approximately GH¢795.9 million.

On mobile money monitoring, it reported an average monthly usage of GH¢29.1 billion and GH¢195.8 million transactions, with the Mobile Network Operators generating GH¢71 million per month in transaction fees.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful observed that prior to the introduction of the platform, the nation lost GH¢300 million in taxes between 2015 and the first quarter of 2017 due to potential under declaration, while an estimated GH¢470 million was saved in taxes between March 2017 and to date, while a potential GH¢1.5 billion would have been lost, if the platform were not implemented.

On the upfront deduction of the Communication Service Tax (CST) by telecos, the Minister explained that the Mobile Network Operators asked for time to configure their systems and expected to complete the adjustment by November 26.

She added that the telecos also started refunding all the upfront CST deductions made from customers.

Source: GNA

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