A tax analyst, who prefer to stay anonymous has challenged claims by the Minister for Communications and Digitization, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, who stated that government has been able to save an estimated GH¢1.5 billion in revenue losses through the Common Platform (CP) managed by Kelni GvG.
Although, this sound as good news as far as revenue collection is concerned, the tax analyst raised questions as to how there could possibly be losses in revenue generation and collection in the first place.
Aside the Ghc1.5 billion which is said to have been saved in revenue losses, the Communications Minister, had told the Appointment Committee that the said amount is in addition to some GH¢470 million in revenue taxes that was saved between the first quarter of 2017 when the platform was announced and that the amount wouldn’t have been realized, if not for the implementation of the Common Platform.
But according to the tax analyst, the failure by the Communications Minister to disclose the source of these revenue losses and the companies involved raises doubts.
In view of the failure to mention which revenue leakages have been blocked , the tax expert who spoke to some Journalists over the matter, demanded to know why foreign companies like MTN repatriates the profits it makes back to their home countries and further asking if the telecom giant could be owing billions in tax returns due to under-declaring.
The concern by the tax analyst is motivated by the fact that Ghana could miss out on as much as GH¢400 million in capital gains and tax, following the sale earlier that year of MTN’s investment in a mobile phone tower business.
“By that, Ghana may not be able to tax the sale because it took place offshore as MTN sold its shares in a company in the tax haven of the Netherlands, which owns the towers”, he noted.
The tax analyst’ fear was deepened by MTN’s latest financial results in 2020, published in August which said its profit of GH¢1.6 billion from the sale is “non-taxable”.
The Minister’s revelation in respect of taxing these telecommunication companies according to the tax expert, suggests that there are some companies which are still under-declaring and evading tax with little efforts by government to get them to pay.
From the analysis, the tax expert wondered Why MTN is not paying money owe the nation in a situation which seem to suggest MTN seems to believe that it has gotten away with making profits in Ghana.
The tax analyst, who sounded appalled also noted that the US$89 million Kelni GvG deal was targeted to monitor revenue mobilization from mobile telecommunication companies operating in the country, but it would be better if government revealed details and give answers to the raging questions emerging as regards MTN’s tax obligations.