The National Communication Authority (NCA) of Ghana has announced it will conduct revenue assurance audits based on CDRs provided by the country’s six telecoms operators; you can read more from ITWeb Africa. NCA’s motive is straightforward: they want to check the government is receiving all the tax that should be levied on international calls. Joshua Peprah, Director of Regulatory of Administration, showed the diplomatic skills we have all come to expect from a public servant:
“We are working with a consultant over a three-year period and the analysis we have done so far indicates that over the three years the state can make $200 million in taxes from inbound international calls…”
“…if the records a telco presents does not tally with our audit records the respective telco is in trouble.”
In other words, the regulator thinks the telcos are run by liars. It seems that nobody has told Mr. Peprah that some consultants are liars too.
This move by Ghana’s NCA links to their attempts to force the installation of real-time monitoring of international gateway switches, though this is being fought by operators. Similar arguments are taking place in Malawi, where customers are concerned about the dangers of Malawi’s regulator infringing their privacy. At least the Ghanaian regulator deserves some credit for realizing that you can do an audit before implementing real-time monitoring, though it remains to be seen if they will drop the real-time monitoring plans if the audit gives a clean bill of health to Ghana’s operators. However, Ghana’s operators are not just giving in. Vodafone Ghana’s Revenue Assurance and Risk Manager, Ashley Radcliffe, denied there was a need to install equipment that he said could interfere with quality of service and customer privacy. Radcliffe also said:
“As far as we are concerned, we check the number of minutes of international calls at several and various levels to ensure they are absolutely accurate before we present them to the NCA so we are not perturbed by any audit to be carried out by the regulator.”