Some users, repairers and dealers of TV sets in the Tema environs have raised concerns about the new TV license which was introduced in December 2014. Some say though it is a good policy, the fee charged is too much of a burden to them.
A TV license is an official record of payment required in many countries for the reception of TV programmes and the possession of a TV set. It is a tax imposed for the purpose of funding public broadcasting: thus allowing public broadcasters to transmit TV programmes. The new TV license fee in Ghana is categorized into three. The first category is for domestic use. This is where a household is required to pay a fee of GH36.00 and GH60.00 for the possession of a single and double or more TV sets respectively. For the second category, we have the repairers and outlets. These are expected to pay an amount of GH60.00. The last category is the TV dealers, who are required to pay GH120.00.
In an interview with GIJ Online News, some residents in the community explained that the TV license fee is a good policy but they are worried about the amount involved.
A freight forwarder at Dashwood Shipping Agency, Tema Harbour, Rev. Albert Agyekum describes the policy as good and that every citizen should patronize it. He however thinks that the fee is rather too expensive and should be reduced.
Evelyn Agyapong, a university student, opined, “I think the TV license fee is not necessary because I pay electricity bill and VAT when I buy the TV set.”
According to Kumi Kofi Brennan, a graduate of Opoku Ware Senior High School, the TV license fee is not helping in anyway. “The fee is collected yet I don’t see any enhancement in the programmes telecasted. I need to be told what my money is used for. This is because I can’t pay for something that has no programme of benefit to me. I am a guy who loves soccer yet the opportunity to watch live matches is not granted. In short the TV license fee is not helping,” he said.
Madam Angela Konadu, a resident and trader in the community is of the view that the entire fee is too expensive. She stated that it is a good policy but due to the money collected, she does not see many people paying in addition to the electricity bills they are to pay.
Speaking with some TV set repairers outlets and dealers, they also expressed their concern on the GH60.00 and GH120.00 fee they are required to pay in a year.
According to Mr. Yaw Badu, a repairer, the policy is not entirely bad. However, it is worrying to pay fees for programmes that are of no benefit to him. He stated that as a repairer, he does not enjoy any programme on the TV set brought to his shop.
“The TV license fee is difficult to pay. I am saying this because I don’t enjoy any programme on the TV set when it’s brought for repairs. I love sports so I sometimes watch the event on TV. However, the national television doesn’t telecast such live matches so I switch to other channels. It is too expensive. I have a TV set in my house. I have to pay that and the ones I repair which will add up to the electricity, TMA and VAT I pay annually. I am only a repairer and I don’t think I should pay for something that is not mine,” he said.
Mr. Prince Appiah also explains his displeasure. “I don’t see the fee as expensive to pay. As a good citizen, I should pay tax. However, the TV station runs advertisement all the time. If I must pay then the advertisement must also be free for all sponsors,” he said.
Samuel Hammond, a TV set dealer describes the TV license as a good policy with some hiccups. This he said admitting that it is tax and everyone has to pay. However, he is of the view that being asked to pay for the TV set in his home and the ones in his shop amounts to double taxation.
“Every citizen should pay tax and I don’t have any problem with that. However, when double taxation is demanded of the same commodity, it becomes a worry. I have a TV set in my house yet because I deal in TV sets, I am to pay another fee for them. I don’t even see any interesting programme on the station. It is therefore not relevant to pay double tax for the same item. I will have no problem paying provided educative and exciting programmes are telecasted,” he said.
He also added that some of the programmes broadcasted have no bearing on the nation’s development. “To be frank, some of the programmes have no bearing on the nation’s development. Imagine paying GH36.00 for domestic use, GH60.00 as a repairer and GH120.00 as a dealer for the same thing. It is a good policy but the board should revisit the amount charged and the programmes telecasted.
According to Enoch, the system is tough and it is difficult to pay for the TV license when programmes such as ‘What Do You Know?’ have vanished from the screens. “The system is now tough. This is preventing people like me from paying. ‘What Do You Know,’ is no longer found on the screen. Our national matches are not telecasted and this makes people divert to the private station. This is because those stations give us value for money. I’m supposed to pay TV license fee in addition to the VAT, electricity bill and TMA levy I pay. It is too much,” he said.
The observation is that dealers and repairers have a problem with paying for their own sets as well as those that are not theirs. Perhaps if they were better educated on what they are paying for and why they should pay, this would not be a problem anymore. Apparently, making non-payment of the TV license fee an offence is not enough to deter users from paying. One wonders what other tricks the government might have up their sleeve to collect these fees.
STORY BY: JULIUS QUARSHIE (L300) AND NANA AKUA AGYEI(Dip1)