Gov’t rolls out platform to monitor telecoms revenue

Government, through the Ministry of Communication, has successfully implemented the Common Monitoring Platform (CMP) to monitor and verify revenues accrued to telecommunication firms.

This brings into effect provisions in the Communications Service Tax Act, 2013 (Act 864).

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications, addressing journalists at the Meet-the Press series in Accra on Thursday said all the concerns raised by stakeholders have been addressed, and all mobile network operators (MNOs) connected to the platform.

The CMP provides services such as traffic monitoring, revenue assurance, fraud management and mobile money monitoring.

The minister noted that the platform provides real-time accurate and independent monitoring of all voice traffic volumes, and ensures the comprehensive billing verification and collection of all telecom-related taxes, levies and regulatory fees due government, while promoting tax compliance.

“It monitors the amount of revenue generated by Service Providers across various revenue streams (Data, Voice, Value Added Services, mobile money, and wholesale services among others for the purpose of computing the CST, VAT, NHIL and the 1 percent universal access contributions,” she added.

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said the system offers the technological means to detect and eliminate fraudulent and unlicenced operators through the appropriate tracking of international inbound traffic.

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This, she said, will help reduce operations of SIM box operators, as MNOs block SIM cards used for such fraudulent operations.

“Five thousand daily calls are generated from about 57 countries to monitor how they are terminated in Ghana.

“When these international calls are terminated as local calls, it confirms the fraudulent use of SIM boxes to bypass the authorised international gateways.

“The numbers used to perpetrate SIM box fraud are sent to operators to block and provide data that facilitates the geographical location (geolocation) and elimination of these SIM boxes.

“We must emphasise that only the signalling information and data required by the NCA and GRA for their regulatory and compliance functions are received by the CMP. No customer voice or data communication is received by it,” Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful assured.

The law enjoins the Minister of Finance to collaborate with the Communication Minister to establish a monitoring mechanism to verify the actual revenue that accrues to network vendors for the purpose of computing taxes due government.

The legislation allows physical access to nodes of the vendors’ network at an equivalent point in the network where the providers’ billing systems are connected.

This ensures that a common platform is used for the purpose of monitoring revenues under the Act, as well as revenues accruing from levies under the Electronic Communications Act 2009, (Act 775).

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