The Ghanaian government risks “shooting down” its efforts to create a less cash-reliant economy by taxing mobile money services, mobile operators told Citi Business News.

Sources from operators, including MTN Ghana, responded to reports the country’s Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful believed a tax on mobile money was “not a bad option”. Although authorities have made no decision on a levy, operators have been quick to criticise any move towards such a fee.

MTN Ghana’s head of mobile money Eli Hini told the business title the government should encourage the use of mobile money services rather than disincentivise through taxes. Hini explained new regulations in the banking sector had a negative impact and said restraint should be shown before imposing new rules on the mobile money market.

Figures released in October 2016 by the Bank of Ghana show mobile money services are gaining strong traction in the country with the number of registered users growing 50 per cent year-on-year. Transaction value during the period grew 122 per cent.

Four operators in the country are registered to provide mobile money services – MTN, Tigo, Airtel and Vodafone. Citi Business News did not specify which operators, aside from MTN, had spoken out against the taxation of services.