Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful
Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, on Friday told Parliament in Accra that the introduction of the Common Platform (CP) has paid off.

She explained that it helped the government to detect GHC ¢470 million of the country’s taxes, which was lost from the period of 2015 to the first quarter of 2017.

“Also, an estimated GHC 300 million in taxes was saved between the first quarter of 2017 to date as a result of the announcement of the implementation on March 8, 2017 and its actual implementation to date,” she added.

In response to a question by Mr Sam Nartey George, MP for Prampram, in Parliament, the Minister, who is also the MP for Ablekuma West, said there would have been a loss of of GHC 1.5 billion through to the end of the CP contract, had the CP not been implemented.

In telecommunications security, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful told Parliament Friday, that the introduction of CP had helped government detect that ¢470 million of the country’s taxes was lost from the period of 2015 to the first quarter of 2017 and ¢300 million from the second quarter of 2017 till date.

Section 14 of the Communications Services Tax Act, 2008 (Act 754), as amended by Section 7 of the Communications Service (Amendment) Act, 2013 (Act 864) mandated the Minister of Finance and the Communications Minister to establish a common platform as a mechanism for verifying the actual revenues that accrue to service providers for the purpose of computing taxes due to Government under Act 864 and revenues accruing from levies under Act 775 as amended by 786 of 2009.

Mr George, the questioner, wanted to know “how much incremental revenue made by Kelni GVG in the past years.”
He also wanted to know from the Minister the status of the National Data Centre after an agreement to commercialise it.

But, the Minister, on three previous occasions was not in the chamber to answer the question.

This compelled the Speaker of Parliament Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye last Wednesday to direct that she made herself available in the House to respond to questions on the Kelni GVG contract.

In her answer, the Minister said the country has recovered ¢770 million that was lost through under-declarations of taxes between 2015 to date after KelniGVG built for all telcos.

“The Ministry of Communications decided to hand over the operations and maintenance of e-Government Infrastructure to a private operator for greater efficiency and to commercialise the excess capacity on the network in a revenue sharing arrangement.

“Today, we have an on-line and real time monitoring platform direct from the same information sources as the Telecoms companies into the CP, as this system independently monitors and verifies declarations from MNOs and giver the NCA and GRA 24/7 full visibility on all transactions within the sector,” the Minister said.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful announced that for mobile money monitoring, the CP had reported monthly usage for July 2020 of GHC 63.6 billion, 307.1 million transactions, with GHC 104.6 million generated by the Operators in transaction fees, with further breakdowns of transaction types for informed policy decision making.

On the status of the National Data Centre the agreement to commercialise it, the Minister said Lebra Ghana was selected through a competitive tender process, and it assigned its rights and responsibilities under the contract to Smart Infraco in 2019.

“The private partner is also expected to invest in the upgrade and expansion of the infrastructure,” she stated.

She spoke of investment activities by Smart Infraco as maintenance of the cooling and power systems, and announced the need to equip the Kumasi secondary data centre with new servers, and the certification of data centres to attract more customers.

The Minister announced that a team was currently working on a marketing drive and would roll out new branded services, which include; Data Collection and Cloud Services before the end of this year.

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