Ghana: Parliament passes controversial tax on mobile payments

After several months of heated debates and protests from the opposition, the Ghanaian Parliament has just passed a measure to introduce a 1.5% tax on digital payments and money transfers. This new tax is expected to bring the equivalent of one billion dollars into the coffers of the Ghanaian government each year. But as inflation soars and the country struggles to emerge from the post-pandemic crisis, this tax is not unanimously supported.
77% of Ghanaians are against it. The opposition fought against it for four months, even refusing to take part in the vote on Tuesday. However, the law introducing a tax on mobile payments and money transfers was finally passed, much to the satisfaction of the Minister of Finance.
For Ken Ofori Atta, the tax will help reduce Ghana’s public debt without the need to resort to International Monetary Fund programs. Specifically, each Ghanaian who sends a sum of digital money greater than 100 cedis, or about 12 euros, will have to pay a tax of 1.5% on the amount. The receiver pays nothing. Except when it comes to money transfers from abroad.
This type of tax on mobile money already exists in Nigeria and Uganda, for example. In this country, the United Nations has calculated that it has led to a decline in mobile payments. 38% of Ugandans said they limit their money transfers to avoid paying the tax. In Ghana, the measure is even worse because the currency has lost 20% of its value against the dollar in one year, and inflation has reached 15% annually.