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Opinions of Thursday, 22 May 2014

Columnist: AFAG leadership

Telcos are looting the country

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, AFAG once again welcomes you to this press conference to highlight a hidden challenge facing the nation in our revenue collection as a results of the deliberate actions, collusion, and inefficiencies of the TELCOS. The earlier we highlight and challenge the TELCOS of the negative practices of their operations, the better we are are to safeguard the public purse as stated as directive principle of state policy as enshrined in our constitution.

Whereas Ghana accommodate foreign investors and protects their assets, the TELCOS have taken advantage of this environment and turned it to their advantage at the Ghanaians.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, there is a fundamental question which we must ask ourselves: Why have the TELCOS resisted any attempt to monitor their earnings in an attempt to determine the right amount of taxes government? Over five years now, the TELCOS have consistently frustrated any attempt to physically monitor them, even in the face of the amended Communication Services Tax, Act 2013 (ACT 864). Ordinarily, the physical installations should not have taken more than three months to complete. Why has it taken five years? According to the Technical Committee set up by government to among others check the matter, after five long years, not a single Telcos has fully complied with Act 864. The report informs us of the compliance of the various TELCOS as follows;
· MTN 19%
· Vodafone 69%
· Airtel 78%
· Expresso 91%
· Tigo 90%
· Glo 88%

This is an unacceptable situation.

Why the government is allowing high profit margin corporate entities like the TELCOS to flout our laws in this revolting manner is a question for another day. The immediate questions are;
1. Why are the TELCOS stalling physical installations to monitor their data flow, which is a basis for ascertaining the actual tax revenues due the state?
2. Why are the TELCOS, through their front, the Ghana Chamber Telecommunication misleading the nation and throwing us off their trail?

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, AFAG has cited an Audit by KPMG and Delloitte, which shows that, the TELCOS have manipulated their data and has thus caused the nation tax revenues to the tune of over hundred million US Dollars. Furthermore, some of the TELCOS are seems to be colluding with certain agents to terminate calls through SIM Boxing which is causing the nation millions in revenue. A simple upgrade and tightening of their systems could prevent SIM Boxing. Why have the TELCOS refused to close those loopholes? What do they gain by keeping loopholes in their networks open for SIM box operators to exploit?

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, fellow Ghanaians, AFAG strongly believes that, the TELCOS are fighting SUBBAH INFOSOLUTIONS, as they did with the Global Voices groups (GVG) from completing the physical installations because of their unwillingness to pay the appropriate taxes to Mother Ghana. Whoever is contracted by the GRA would face similar stiff resistance from the TELCOS. At a time when the government is taxing condoms and kayayeis, it is hard to belief that, corporations which make ten of millions in profits would be unwilling to pay their due taxes to the nation.

OUR RESOLVE
1. AFAG challenges KPMG, DELLOITTE and the National Communication Authority to make public the results of the audit done on the operations of the TELCOS. Fellow Ghanaians, this report highlights serious acts by the TELCOS which are detrimental to the nation.
2. AFAG challenges the government to prosecute any criminal act by the TELCOS as per the audit done by KPMG and Delloitte
3. AFAG strongly urges Ghana Chamber of TELCOS to desist from any misinformation and undue media pressure and allow public institutions to perform their due functions
4. We implore the TELCOS in the strongest of terms to allow for the speedy installations of the monitoring equipment by Subbah Info Solution to allow for the scientific determination of how much tax is due the nation.
Fellow Ghanaians, AFAG would not allow for the demonization of respectable indigenous Ghanaians business whilst the real culprits who are siphoning state revenues in the form of under-declaration earning to go scot free. It is time for the TELCOS to be accountable.
We shall return with further revelations. This is only the beginning.
Long Live Mother Ghana!

AFAG LEADERSHIP