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Digital taxation in Africa should have an evidence based approach – Prof Peter Quartey

Director of ISSER, Professor Peter Quartey, advocates for an evidence-based strategy in the implementation of digital taxation, citing a lack of adequate evidence to support current methods.

He emphasizes the necessity for collaboration between policymakers and academia to ensure effective digital taxation, such as the e-levy or electronic transfer tax.

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Speaking at a conference on mobile money taxation organized by ICTD and Ghana Revenue Authority, Prof. Quartey’s statement, delivered by Adazewa Otoo, underscores academia’s role in shaping policies. He calls for collaboration to address challenges in digital taxation rollout and ensure it is grounded in evidence.

The conference, attended by participants from various African countries implementing mobile money taxation, aims to exchange insights and discuss future directions. Prof. Quartey highlights the unique role of digital taxation in Africa’s economic development.

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Martin Hearson, ICTD Research Director, commends Ghana’s progressive stance on digital financial services taxation, hailing it as a significant milestone. He emphasizes ICTD’s findings, indicating that the tax’s impact on the mobile money market was modest and temporary, with continued growth in usage.

Despite concerns about the tax’s impact on the poor, Hearson notes it is among the more progressive taxes in Africa. He stresses the importance of revising the GH¢100 per day exemption threshold to align with inflation for ongoing effectiveness.

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Dr. Charles Addae of GRA highlights the success of Ghana’s e-levy, exceeding revenue targets despite initial challenges. Eileen Rafferty, West African Regional Tax Adviser of FCDO, emphasizes the need for cross-country collaboration for impactful results.

Dorcas Ansah of Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing calls for the scrapping of the e-levy due to an excessive tax burden.

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