Fiscal stabilization levy must be scrapped – MTN CEO
The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, Ebenezer Twum Asante has renewed his calls for the government to scrap the National Fiscal Stabilization Levy (NFSL).
According to Mr. Asante, the levy has outlived its purpose and was currently hurting institutions which were being levied.
The government on July 15, 2013, introduced the stabilization levy to help reduce Ghana’s growing deficit. Upon introduction, the government then charged affected institutions 5% of the accounting profits of specified companies and institution.
The tax which was to last for only 18 months, ending January, 2015 as of today, is still being charged even though there have been calls from affected institutions and tax experts that it should be abolished.
The categories of companies selected to pay this special tax at the time included telecom service providers, banks, (excluding rural and community banks) non-banking financial institutions, insurance companies, breweries, inspection and valuation companies, companies providing mining support services, as well as shipping lines, maritime and airport terminals.
MTN Ghana’s CEO Ebenezer Twum Asante in an interview stated that, government in its spirit of moving the economy forward from taxation to production must remove the stabilization levy.
“On the National Fiscal Stabilization Levy, for how long is the country going to be in the stabilization mode for which reason some of us will have to pay over and above the mandatory taxes and levies. So, that is why we continue to appeal to the government in the past two years that, that levy should be considered and removed.”
“And we are not saying this alone but all the banks and other related agencies who also paying these levies are asking for it to be waived. If there is any nuisance tax in the industry for me I think the biggest one is the stabilization levy,” Mr. Asante, MTN boss added.
In 2016 the telecom giant MTN increased its revenue from ¢2.3 billion in 2015 to ¢2.7 billion in 2016.
The company also is said to have paid ¢1.1 billion to government in taxes and fees in 2016, with 713 million cedis going to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), 51.8 million cedis went to the National Communications Authority (NCA)/ GIFEC, while 258 million cedis went to the NCA for the 4G, LTE and 85 million cedis to SIIT.
During the period, the telecom operator increased its subscriber base by some 18.7% to 19.3 million.
Also, the telecom operator’s data revenue went up to 65.7%, contributing 42% to total revenue while digital revenue contributed 48% to data revenue.
MTN in 2016 was adjudged best performing entity in Ghana within the telecom space and also within the MTN group they were adjudged the best.