In October 2019, the Ghanaian Government imposed a Communication Service Tax; this caused rage among Ghanaians. They expressed their disappointment on Twitter with a hashtag #saveourdata.
This tax is imposed on any purchase of a prepaid card as well as other communication services such as mobile data and text messaging. Indirectly, consumers are obliged to pay the tax whether they are using a particular service or not.
This increase is the outcome of the Government’s increase in the CST from 6 percent to 9 percent. Before the imposition of these taxes, the CST was paid by Telecommunication companies, but now this tax has been passed on to the individual users.
Ghana’s Communication Service Tax threatens digital inclusion ahead of elections. Factoring that 75% of Ghana’s population uses their mobile device to access the internet. This sharp surge in internet data costs will surely exclude those who can’t afford data. Therefore, they won’t be able to engage in any political debate and dialogue on social media and mobile platforms.
#Savethedata campaign aims to summon Telcos to explain the high cost of data and hopefully get a fair pricing structure.