A senior Ghana official hit back at accusations the government planned to introduce a tax on mobile money transactions following its latest budget statement, Ghanaweb reported.

In a press conference, deputy information minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah said the measure was not in its current budget or any future plans. He then accused opposition politicians of “distorting” what was in the budget document.

During the last week the country’s opposition politicians and local media suggested Ghana was set for a levy on the transactions. The tax was described by MP Cassiel Ato Forson as a “serious threat” to the country’s growth, which would negatively impact millions of people.

Speculation on government plans follow warnings from the country’s mobile operators in February stating any taxation on the service risked “shooting down” Ghana’s efforts to create an economy less reliant on cash.

Mobile money services are growing in popularity in the country. Bank of Ghana statistics showed the number of registered mobile money accounts at end-September was up 16.6 per cent year-on-year to 22 million across the four mobile operators offering the service – Airtel, MTN, Tigo and Vodafone.