While Ghana is reeling under possible civil uprising over killer taxes and poor governance, the Akufo Addo administration is planning to slap on more taxes on residents by targeting all WhatsApp calls, zoom conference calls, Facebook Messenger calls, among others, Whatsup News can report.
The Minister of Communications and Digitization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful is the henchman for this curious plan as she revealed recently that the government is strongly considering generating revenue from calls on social media platforms.
According to the Minister, the plan will be rolled out in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
To push the plan through, the Akufo Addo administration says it will be conducting mass SIM card re-registration this year, a strategy that will make it easy to enforce the proposed taxation on social media usage.
“We will also be conducting SIM re-registration this year, a process that is long overdue,” the Communications Minister stated.
“Currently, Government is losing huge revenues from the MNOs [Mobile Network Operators] to OTT [Over The Top] digital service providers as traditional sources of telecoms revenue like voice declines. It is important that we have a frank, open dialogue on this, and explore other sources of revenue within the digital services space to improve government domestic revenue mobilization,” Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said.
Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful was addressing the Mobile Technology for Development (MT4D), recently in Accra, where she hinted that stakeholders in the telecommunication sector, especially MNOs, will be engaged on how government can shore up its revenue by taxing OTTs, which basically include new digital call platforms on Facebook, WhatsApp, Zoom, etc.
“We are determined to accelerate the use of digital technology, applications and services at all levels, build and protect our digital infrastructure, and enhance capacity and digital skills acquisition of our youth. As you may be aware, it is only through tax revenue mobilization that such investments and more can be funded,” Ursula Owusu insisted.
This plan appears to be ill-timed, given the fact that the government has been thrown into a state of hysteria following this weekend’s birth of a mass movement of youth who are angry at the status quo of high taxations that do not yield social infrastructure or dividends to the citizens.
So far, the movement has generated over 600,000 participants who are using mostly social media to mobilise themselves into what threatens to explode into a full-blown civil uprising.
The now-popular call to action has been dubbed with the hashtag # FixTheCountry. The brewing uprising has started against the Akufo Addo administration as the hundreds of thousands of tweets bemoan the sorry state of the current Ghanaians economy, despite the government having contracted more loans than all governments since independence.
Prominent among the complaints by the youth are sentiments against the rising spate of youth unemployment, abandoned health system, skyrocketing home-renting rates, poor road networks, official connivance with Chinese miners to destroy forest reserves and water bodies across the country and a general lack of commitment to the welfare of Ghanaians citizens.