Senior finance lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr Benjamin Amoah, has expressed the need for government to audit the e-levy within the mobile money services.
According to him, such audit will allow for better streamlining of the financial services space. He revealed that it appears the e-levy is more of a retail level tax that has to be paid by individuals and not the corporate entities.
Dr Amoah stated that this is because the corporate entities will always have the opportunity to make a claim for whatever expenses they have incurred by way of e-levy when they filed their tax returns.
“It’s a conversation that we must keep having from time to time, but before we will think of a reduction in the e-levy, a proper audit of the system must be conducted…”Dr Benjamin Amoah
Emphasizing his point, Dr Amoah contended that at the individual level, they don’t have the opportunity to keep a record of whatever transaction they make by way of e-levy and how much they have paid by way of e-levy to make a tax refund for.
He explained that individuals don’t have the capacity and skillset to do that.
“But the corporate entities have that, and the corporate entities are the same group of entities that transact heavily in terms of the e-levy. So, you realize that you’re going to see huge transactions by way of momo, but it will not easily translate into the e-levy because the corporate bodies will always have the benefit of making a claim for whatever tax they have paid by way of e-levy as a cost input in their production process.”Dr Benjamin Amoah
Commenting on Ghana’s 2nd ranking in mobile money services with 100% growth, Dr Amoah stated that it is not surprising because the trend of global financial services clearly reveals that there was going to be a huge growth in the usage of mobile financial services.
He further highlighted that when it comes to financial services, the traditional mode of this has been brick and mortar, although it has gravitated to the tech space.
“… Now, the coming into being of mobile phone and the uptake in mobile phone usage, and mobile phone becoming the tool for for payment now in the form of mobile money, all that one needs is just the network connections and that particular infrastructure to support the transfer and the usage of mobile phones for mobile money as a means of payment. In that regard, you don’t need the brick-and-mortar infrastructure to effect payment across regions or countries.”Dr Benjamin Amoah
Narrowing to Ghana, Dr Amoah noted that banks in the country are very “choosy” when it comes to where they site their branches. However, he indicated that when it comes to mobile money, and its infrastructure, all one needs is an “umbrella, a desk and a table”.
“That is enough for you to receive deposit or effect payment by way of mobile money. This one is a low cost means of providing this particular financial service, hence, it can be done anywhere and by anybody in the country. No wonder the uptake has been that huge and the success story is what we are seeing currently in Ghana and across many African countries…”Dr Benjamin Amoah
Gains of mobile money in Ghana
Commenting on whether Ghana has taken advantage of mobile money growth, Dr Amoah responded in the affirmative and insisted that the country is still taking advantage. He highlighted that the easiest thing one can look at is the convenience to effective payment.
“You can also look at the employment that this particular innovative service is providing all of us. We can also talk about recently, the e-levy that the country is raking from mobile money, it is not as was expected but it’s better than none.
“So, if you look at the fact the mobile financial services are providing employment, merchants are now being employed…”Dr Benjamin Amoah
Moreover, he expressed that the fact that many corporate entities are also using mobile financial services to effect payment, clearly, portrays the service as a “good thing to have and we are benefiting”.
“In fact, there are a lot more we can benefit going forward and as the technology evolves and develops, I believe that Ghana will be prepared to tap into the benefits that mobile financial services offer to any economy that embraces the technology.”Dr Benjamin Amoah