The Ministry of Communications (MoC) has contracted Kelni-GVG Limited to implement the Common Platform project to provide a more accurate method of electronically monitoring communication traffic volumes on a real-time basis.

The US $178 million contract with Kelni- GVG will also serve as a basis for both the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to calculate taxes and government revenue which was not accurately calculated by the previous system.

Furthermore, the Platform will have the capability to do sim-box fraud tracking with a geo-location system to pinpoint the exact location of fraudsters using sim-box locators to enable their arrest and confiscation of equipment.

It will also enable government to have more visibility on the actual volumes and values of mobile money transactions, not just for revenue assurance but also for anti-money laundering and anti-crime and terrorist funding, all of which the previous platforms did not have.

Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister for Communications, made these known in a statement on the floor of Parliament in response to a summons by the Speaker.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful explained that the implementation of a common platform for telecommunications traffic monitoring, revenue assurance, mobile money monitoring and fraud management would enhance the capacity of tax authorities to ensure that the big players in the economy—the mining companies, oil companies and the telecommunication companies—pay the appropriate taxes, adding that all the equipment to be used in the execution of the contract would be owned by the country after five years.

"For too long, such companies have been the source of a massive flight of capital from our country and our continent.... I will not condone illicit financial outflows, we know how injurious they have been to Africa's development," Mrs Owusu-Ekuful pointed out.

The Minister, however,  reminded all mobile network operators of their obligations to ensure compliance with the relevant provisions of Section 4 (b) of the Communications Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013, (Act 864) which states that the Finance Minister in collaboration with the Minister responsible for Communications shall "be given physical access to the physical network nodes of the service providers' network at an equivalent point in the network where the network providers' billing systems are connected" and Section 5 which provides that "a service provider who refuses to provide access to its network for Government or its appointed agents as specified in subsection 4(b) commits an offence and is liable to pay a penalty of five percent of the annual gross revenue of the last audited financial statement of the service provider after the first thirty days and if the situation persists after ninety days, the National Communications Authority may revoke the operating licence of that service provider ".

In his submission, Hon Haruna Iddrisu, Minority leader in Parliament, expressed dissatisfaction with how the contract was awarded, saying that the Minister did not do much consultation to be well-informed on the company Kelni-GVG.

Hon. Iddrisu, therefore, called for the establishment of a committee to probe the matter and further advise the Ministry.

Source: ISD (Eva Frempon-Ntiamoah)

Created: 01 June 2018
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