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Parliament suspends consideration on amended CST Bill

Parliament has suspended further consideration on the amended Communication Service Tax Bill, which is seeking to impose a 6 cent per minute charge on internationals calls received in the country.
The Bill when passed, will also affect all electronic communication. While the minority insist the amendment will overburden the consumer with taxes, government argues it is losing over GH¢45 million a month, hence the levy.
Government is pushing Parliament to approve the amendment of the Communication Service Tax passed in 2008. It has presented a paper seeking approval to amend the bill and impose additional taxes on receiving of international calls and email.
But Ranking member on Parliament’s Select Committee on Communication, Fredrick Opare Ansah who is also the Member of Parliament for Suhum, says the consumers will be double taxed if government succeeds in securing parliament’s approval.
Deputy Chairman of the Finance Committee, Gabriel Kodwo Essilfie told parliamentary correspondent Elton John Brobbey, concerns expressed have compelled the committee and government to have more discussions on the Bill.
“There are still some consultations going on most probably to refine the whole Bill and may be make some appropriate changes. So that once the Bill is passed into an Act; there will not be any misinterpretation in what it’s being sought out to do.
So that on Tuesday when we take it, we can complete it and pass it,” Mr. Essilfie said.
In the Bill, a telecommunications operator which fails to comply and exact the charges, would face sanctions including a revoking of its operating licence by the National Communications Authority (NCA).
The Bill seeks to amend some provisions in the Communications Service Tax, 2008 (Act 754) to clarify the scope and coverage of the tax and to include interconnection services within the tax base.
Clause One amends section one of Act 754 to impose a tax to be known as Communications Service Tax.
Clause Two amends section two of the Act to provide for the tax to be paid together with the electronic communication service charge payable to the service provider by the user of the service. Where the service is received from a source outside Ghana, the tax is to be paid by the user who received the service. The action also clarifies the period within which the tax becomes due.
Credit: Myjoyonline

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