ICH revenue assurance for NCA not same as GRA tax assurance – Afriwave

Communications Director of Afriwave Telecoms Ghana Limited, Donald Gwira, has debunked allegations that the company is being paid by the National Communications Authority (NCA) to do a job meant for the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

A local newspaper reported recently that NCA has paid Afriwave some GH¢4.5million for revenue assurance for the NCA, saying that the payment was not justified because, by law, revenue assurance was under the purview of GRA and not NCA.

But Donald Gwira told Adom News the new Electronic Communication (Amendment) Act, Act 910, 2016, which authorizes the operations of the Interconnect Clearinghouse (ICH) clearly stated the ICH (Afriwave) cannot do tax revenue assurance for GRA, which is different from the revenue assurance as it is currently doing for NCA.

According to him, by law, NCA is supposed to charge telcos a number of fees based on the volume of traffic they generate, and those charges by the NCA had in the past been based on records generated by the telcos themselves.

Gwira said the NCA, therefore, contracted Afriwave to independently generate those records for them to be able to issue invoices to each telco based on independently generated records.

“That is the kind of revenue assurance we are doing for the NCA as opposed to tax revenue assurance which the law (Act 910) bars the ICH (Afriwave) from doing,” he said.

He explained that the ICH is set up to automatically monitor traffic flow on telcos’ international gateways and on the interconnect platform in real time, and that data can be used by the NCA for revenue assurance on those platforms.

GRA rejects Afriwave’s free service

Gwira also noted that the work of Afriwave automatically generates free data for GRA to be able to determine domestic tax revenue from the telcos but GRA chose to still award a contract to another company and pay for the service.

Afriwave wrote a letter dated May 3, 2016, to GRA, offering to give them free data for them to do domestic tax revenue assurance on the telcos activities.

That offer meant GRA did not need to pay for tax revenue assurance on the activities of telcos, but GRA chose to renew the contract of another company (Subah) just for the state to keep paying for something Afriwave is offering for free.

Adom News sources say GRA renewed the Subah contract without recourse to the Attorney-General.

It would also be recalled that the same GRA allegedly inserted a termination clause in a contract with Subah on the blind side of the A-G, which meant if Subah’s contract was terminated the state was going to pay huge funds to Subah.

Meanwhile, a few years back, Subah and GRA were in the news for some GH¢74million the latter paid to the former allegedly for no work done. Till date, GRA has not been able to explain to the public how Subah earned the money from the state when there is no record of Subah having done the work for which it was paid.

On the contrary, NCA made it clear from day one that until 2018, it will pay Afriwave for NCA’s revenue assurance, for anti-Simboxing and for the actual interconnect management.

That information has not been hidden from the public, and the law as it stands is not opposed to any of those arrangements.

Telcos still argue that the work of ICH will burden consumers with extra charge, but the NCA has explained over and again that it will bear all interconnect cost till 2018 when the interconnect rate will be due for review and Afriwave will naturally make its earning without any undue cost burden on consumers.

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