Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has replied fellow legislator Cassiel Ato Forson in a strongly-worded statement.
The Ejumako-Enyan-Esiam MP had called out the Minister for her directive to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to stop upfront deduction of the Communications Service Tax (CST).
Mr Forson described the Minister’s directive as illegal.
The row follows government’s increasing of the CST from six per cent to nine per cent.
The MNOs had previously absorbed the six per cent, but upon an increment, decided to pass on the entire nine per cent to consumers by an upfront deduction from airtime purchases.
But the Minister directed them to stop this and rather treat the CST as the Valued Added Tax (VAT) or any other tax.
Mr Forson who is the Minority’s spokesperson on Finance criticised this, explaining that only the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is empowered to give orders on tax administration.
But the Ursula Owusu disagrees.
She argues that, the Electronic Communications Act which gives the legal basis for MNOs to operate in the country, also gives her the power to issue policy directives to the regulator, the National Communications Authority (NCA).
Rejecting the suggestion to withdraw the directive, Ursula Owusu said the MP’s reading of the law is his opinion, adding that if she wants lessons in good morals, “I certainly won’t go to the brothel for it.”
Meanwhile, the MNOs have asked for at least a month to amend their systems to stop the upfront deductions.
Read the Minister’s full response to Ato Forson below