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Ghana’s mobile-money tax risks killing the golden goose, analysts say

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Tuesday, 6 July 2021 18:38

MTN is Ghana’s biggest mobile money operator. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Ghana’s plan to increase taxes on mobile-money agents risks restricting the growth of an industry that has the potential to become a significant contributor to public finances, analysts say.

The new 10% withholding tax on cash-out transactions will be collected by telecoms companies from mobile-money agents. Implementation has been suspended until 1 September after having initially been introduced on 1 July and then rolled back, according to the Mobile Money Agents Association of Ghana on its Facebook page.

Initial protests have caused a delay, but as it stands, the government’s intention is still to introduce the tax. The government sees mobile money as an “easy way” to raise revenue, but “taxation is not the way to go at this point,” says P. K. Senyo, a Ghanaian senior lecturer in information systems at Southampton University in the UK.