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Opinions of Thursday, 19 November 2015

Columnist: AFAG

Ghana revenue authority stampede NCA

The Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) is alarmed at the level of compromise at the GRA, rendering them redundant and of little value to ensure adequate revenue generation from the Telcos.

Over the past six years, AFAG has been consistent with issues that inure to the benefit of the state, especially on matters that border on revenue generation, monitoring of call volumes fully, under declaration of revenue by Telcos and simboxing.

We simply cannot understand why these Telcos are so adamant in giving due respect to the laws of the land. AFAG is not comfortable with Subah signing a non-disclosure and non-competing agreement with them. In essence, Subah is bereft of the real time value of call volumes terminating on Telcos sites. To date we are only fed with whatever data is handed over to us from the Telcos. Subah does not have any means to verify the monthly call data submitted to them by the Telcos. This is a worrying situation, requiring immediate action! The NCA is therefore limited in their oversight roles, while the GRA sees no reason to worry about.

The GRA has little values for auditing. If external auditors should just be content with the internal audit report of a company without verification mechanisms to give meaning to their engagement, then in essence, the GRA through its compromised posturing on this situation involving Subah and Telcos has declared useless the work of the auditor general.

We suspect the Telcos are heavily under declaring their revenues. The Telcos play with the emotions of Ghanaians by merely making the argument that any technology used to monitor real time volume of calls is intrusive. Telcos must stop this propaganda and allow for adequate monitoring of calls terminating at their sites through automatic technology and not one that they determine the volume of calls and submit it to Subah.

AFAG has followed with keen interest the standoff between the GRA and NCA with respect to revenue generation from Telcos. We ask Ghanaians to stand by the NCA to put the Telcos in line and not to be swayed by cheap propaganda that any attempt to monitor call volumes automatically is deemed as being actively listening to call contents.

Mr. President, the GRA is condoning wrong practices and the continuous stay of its Commissioner General, will, mean loss and massive under declaration of revenues by the Telcos.

Sack the GRA boss now to make way for a much sensible approach to accountability by the Telcos.