The government of Ghana has decided to answer a call to remove duties it imposed on smartphones import into the country, as part of efforts to bridge the digital divide and move closer towards digital inclusion.
With mobile penetration in the country increasing, smartphone penetration stands at only 15 per cent of all mobile subscriptions, a situation that led mobile phone dealers in Ghana to appeal to the government to remove duties.
Following the appeal presented through a petition in October, the government, through the minister of Finance announced its intentions to remove the 20% import tax it had earlier imposed on mobile handsets and accessories, to help increase smartphone penetration in the country.
With communication across nations shifting from voice to data and mobile data being predicted to grow tremendously in the coming years, the proposal by the government to remove duties on mobile will help make mobile phone purchase affordable.
Currently, there are low cost smartphones being made available in the mobile market such as the lumia 530 and Microsoft Lumia 535 among others, but with the high taxes levied in the mobile sector across different countries, smartphone penetration is still low.
As countries work to achieve digital inclusion for all and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) continue to advocate for reduction in mobile taxes across nations which is unfairly high, this move by Ghana will help the country leap one step forward.
Smartphones are revolutionizing business for they allow for easier ways of carrying out operations by providing capability for various mobile technologies and the popular cloud, making them readily available will help grow Ghana’s economy.
According to a recent GSMA report, Taxation on mobile devices was is one of the barriers slowing down digital inclusion as governments have realised the potential of mobile leading to heavy taxation on the mobile sector.