Stakeholders at the Ghana Internet Conference have called on government to remove taxes on the internet or alternatively, remove such taxes completely remove such taxes.
They argued that the internet has become a fulcrum for improving lives in areas including the improvement in education, health and businesses among others and that a tax on it would have great repercussions.
Speaking at the Conference, a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Cape Coast, Nii Narku Quanor said the phenomenon could slow the country’s development.
He said to ensure development in the internet space, there was the need for government and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to own the information society by developing local content.
“We need to feel that this is ours and we are determining the policies through collaborating with other stakeholders to improve our peace in the internet space,” he said.
Mr Quanor said ISPs of today had focused solely on connectivity and urged them to rather rally around users and consumers to do more.
He called for a policy environment that understands what the standards should be to support the sector as well as the need to move from compliance to enablement to thrive in the internet space.
Mr Richard Densu, the President of Ghana Internet Services Provider Association (GISP), said the internet gave an unprecedented opportunity to everyone to socialise and promote business.
He said it was important that industry players led the way by uniting to discuss the available services better for customers for satisfaction.
Mr Densu said taxes on the internet were too much and would be better if they were reduced to develop the local content to maintain the traffic.
He added that even though there was consensus among the players, cost was too much hence the need to work together to reduce internet cost.
Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, said Ghana had made a lot of progress with regards to internet penetration as she had moved from 3G to 4G.
He said the country needs to drive internet demand in some rural areas to improve on the issues of coverage.
That, he said, would expand the internet space leading to development at a cheaper cost.
Mr George Abban, the Head, Customer Fixed Business, Vodafone Ghana, called for collaboration and neutralisation of internet license, reduction in cost of deploying fiber optics and infrastructure to improve internet access.
Mr Alfred Gaisie, a Regulatory Administrator, National Communications Authority, said the Authority was focusing on how best to grow the internet and provide minimum charges for customers to be able to enter into those markets.
The maiden Ghana Internet Conference was organised by the Ghana Internet Service Providers Association (GISPA) in Accra on Thursday.
It was on the theme: “Global Internet Development: Lessons for Local ISPs for Business Growth and Affordable Internet Provision.”