John Dumelo Goofed On an International Platform For Saying ‘African Governments Should Reduce Or Remove Mobile Phone Import Taxes’

4 min

John Dumelo at Harvard Business School (2)
John Dumelo at Harvard Business School

Ghanaian celebrated actor, John Dumelo, has always been described as one of the few business minded actors we have in Ghana and West Africa.

However, his recent comments have made me realize he does not merit that ‘business-minded’ accolade at all! From a report I read on GhanaCelebrities.Com headlined “Reduce Or Remove Mobile Phone Import Tax Across Africa – John Dumelo Urges African Governments.

The supposed business-minded John Dumelo advised African leaders to reduce or completely eliminate import taxes on mobile phones and other communication devices. John Dumelo made the plea when he addressed students of the Harvard Business School in Boston, USA on Saturday 1st March, 2014.

Quoting him: “completely reducing or completely eliminating import taxes on mobile phones makes the device more affordable to the ordinary African thus making dissemination of information easier and that adversely affects positive development across the continent.”

The Economic and Social “senselessness” in John’s suggestion…

If African leaders reduce or completely reduce import taxes on mobile phones and other communication devices, the effect is that we shall be motivating the mobile phone manufacturing companies in other continents to produce more and more phones, because they know after producing huge quantities of phones, they have less taxes to pay to export them to Africa.

Through the production of more phones and communication devices, their net profit goes up or they end up making supernormal profit. By so doing, their government would get more tax revenue from them through corporate taxation.

As they make more profit and demand for their products soar, they shall expand their factories and administrative set ups to recruit more skilled and unskilled labour; thereby, creating more employment for their nationals. As their phones and communication devices flood our market, the love for them stereotypes our minds; thereby, making us has a strong proclivity for foreign products.

What will happen therefore is that, by the time African leaders establish our own phone manufacturing companies to produce phones and communication devices, the very Africans will not patronize them because we would have had a taste for foreign products for ages (already we are even battling with this propensity for foreign things at the expense of our own).

Finally, when African leaders reduce or completely reduce import taxes, we shall not get enough revenue from taxes for development! Already, the tax coverage and collection in Africa is low; making revenue African leaders generate from taxation in their various countries highly low, so African leaders will not be doing their economies any good by reducing or completely reducing import taxes! African leaders should rather increase import taxes to generate revenue.

Any scholar or authority in the field of Economics, Accountancy, Psychology and Social Science, will agree with my analysis on John Dumelo’s advice or suggestion to his own African leaders. John’s suggestion stinks! It’s a shame! It’s a revelation of a resource person who was not on top of his topic, given to him to research and address an equally intelligent and educated audience.

I was not in the minds of those whites who sat watching John as he spoke or finished speaking; but I can say that, majority of them might have been saying in their minds “is he serious?” “Does this guy understand the economic and social ramifications of his suggestion?” “This guy is a joke!” “This guy does not understand what he is suggesting.”

However, John also said, more mobile phone assembling and manufacturing plants should be built across the continent as this will create employment and boost African economies. This is an erudite suggestion. I deem it erudite because it’s in the best interest of Africa. If such a suggestion is implemented by African leaders, it will boast the GDP of African nations and not the earlier ‘joke’ he suggested.

John was actually called upon to speak on the topic “The power of mobile technology and media in changing the mindsets of Africans.” The event was held as part of the 16th annual African Business club Forum. John’s speech was a purely ‘populism’ one, targeted at appeasing the conscience of whoever invited him for the event.

If you are called upon to address a topic and you are not a maven on the subject matter, the best thing to do is to research or get an expert on the subject matter to help you write an educating and informing address or speech for you to read out to your audience. John may take a cue from my rebuttal. Until then…..MOTWUM!!

GC Staff Ob

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  1. Applause to the author of this excellent  article ,I studied economics and politics for my BA and doing MSc marketing . Thank you for your article . We need more of this articles .