According to a4ai.org, less than a year after starting work in Ghana, the Alliance for Affordable Internet Ghana Multi-stakeholder Coalition has recorded its first big win after the Government committed to abolish import duties on smartphones.
This step — confirmed in the 2015 Budget — was a key recommendation developed by the A4AI-Ghana Coalition and the subject of intense advocacy: “Communication is shifting from voice to data and mobile data is projected to grow 6.3 times between 2013 and 2018. It is being proposed that in order to increase smartphone penetration, and in line with Government’s policy of bridging the digital divide within the country, import duties on smartphones will be removed. It is expected that the increase in smartphone penetration will increase revenue from Communication Service Tax, VAT and corporate taxes” the government stated.
The elimination of the 20% import duty will reduce the cost of handsets in Ghana — where taxes make up approximately 35% of the cost of a smartphone — enabling many more Ghanaians to have access to smartphones which still only account for around 15% of mobile phones currently in circulation.
A previous government decision to scrap VAT on handsets in 2009, helped quadrupled the number of mobile terminals in circulation and overall mobile penetration rose from 50% to more than 70%. Ghana hopes to achieve similar results.