United under the Concerned Phone and Accessories Dealers of Ghana (CPADG) the dealers and manufacturers have vowed not to open their shops until government waives the import tax.
The Ghana government introduced new taxes and levies and reintroduced the import tax on handsets and accessories adding to the already present talk tax, a move the group said will kill the handset industry and deny the Ghana government the revenue it is looking for as many dealers might turn to smuggling or abandon the businesses. Manufactures might also abandon the country as they import phone accessories to assembly their phones in the country.
Earlier, the Ghana government had replaced the import tax on mobile phones with the talk tax (the Communication Service Tax (CST)). The talk tax led to the influx of affordable handsets in Ghana but made Ghanaians pay more in voice rates than on purchasing of a handset.
The influx of affordable handsets however affected the local manufacturers which the government argues the tax is out to protect. Ghana however has only one local handset manufacturer, RLG Communications, which is said to import parts from China and only assemble the phones in the country.
According to Joseph Osei Agyeman, the Chairman of the phone dealers group and CEO of Agyengo Phones, the Ghanaian government ought to scrap the 20% tax as it is a threat to the industry as phone manufacturers like Nokia, LG, Samsung, Apple, Alcatel and several other dealers are threatening to leave the country. Teh tax is also in favour of the only local ‘manufacturer’. The tax might also introduce smuggling, phone theft, kill the phone business in the country.