Ghana moves in to thwart phone black market
from FRANCIS SACKITEY in Accra, Ghana
ACCRA – THE Ghana Telecommunications Chamber (GTC) is confident government’s plan to remove import duties on mobile devices will curb the black market for such products.
Last week, the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, announced the policy to remove import duties on smart phones when he presented the 2015 Budget to Parliament.
“The companies that are registered to do this business (deal in smartphones) who want to play by the rules, who want to pay their taxes, who hire people, they cannot compete against the black market,” Chief Executive Officer of the telecommunications chamber , KwakuSakyi-Addo, noted.
GTC believes this will make prices of the device competitive.
Sakyi-Addo says the policy will significantly boost government’s effort to grow the formal sector.
He said with the removal of the taxes consumers would also be spared high cost of smart phones at registered shops across the country.
Sakyi-Addo also sees the removal of the taxes on smart phones as a positive incentive towards bridging Ghana’s digital divide.
Government’s plan to remove a 20 percent tax on smart phones importation it imposed few years ago is aimed among other things at increasing data usage and internet penetration.
“Right now it is only 15 percent of the population that has access to smartphones. That ought to change. That ought to grow,” he said.
With significantly low import duties across the sub region, some traders take advantage to import thousands of handsets from China and elsewhere through neighboring countries thereby undercutting prices on the market.
In October, some importers of mobile phones and accessories presented a petition to the Ministry, citing increasing tax evasion through smuggling of the handsets as one the negative impact the tax on mobile phones.
– CAJ News
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