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Tanzanians brace for new phone sim card levy starting August

In its budget passed recently by Parliament, the government has imposed levies ranging from Sh10 to Sh200 on every sim card, depending on the financial capability of credit recharging.

 

Dar es Salaam,
As public outcry grows over newly introduced mobile phone transaction levies, Tanzanian mobile phone users must brace for a new levy on their sim cards, which is expected to start next month.

The government imposed the levy in the current budget as telecoms companies complained about high taxes on topup vouchers. The government’s taxes have risen to up to 40 percent of a recharge voucher by a customer.

In its budget passed recently by Parliament, the government has imposed levies ranging from Sh10 to Sh200 on every sim card, depending on the financial capability of credit recharging.

The charges

The government said it aims to collect a total of Sh396.3 billion from the levy this year.

It insists that its solidarity levy is aimed at implementing various development projects and has already unveiled regulations for this, but the development could spark a fresh uproar among mobile phone users.

The regulations presented to telecoms companies for implementation of the levy by August indicate that every sim card line will be taxed Sh5 in the event of a topup not exceeding Sh1,000, and Sh223 for a topup of more than Sh100,000.

A customer who tops up from Sh1,001 to Sh2,500 will be taxed Sh10 while a topup of Sh2,501 to Sh5,000 will result in a levy of Sh21. Topping up Sh5,001 to Sh7,500 will result in a Sh40, Sh7,501 to Sh10,000 a Sh76 levy, Sh10,001 to Sh25,000 a Sh113 levy, Sh25,001 to Sh50,000 a Sh153 tax and Sh50,001 to Sh100,000 a Sh186 tax.

A senior official of one of the cell phone service providers, who asked not to be named, told The Citizen that discussions are ongoing on how the levies should be effected and that it is possible they will not be included in phone bundles.

“The trend has been not to include those levies in phone bundles. This is because we are merely levy collectors. We cannot take those levies because if we do so, the actual value of the relevant voucher will be low,” the source said.

“For example, a bundle of Sh500 will mean a value of Sh495. A Sh500 phone bundle will have to be sold at Sh495 or if need be, we will change it into a Sh495 value, which is not correct.”

“Looming disaster”

The official went on to say that the effects of taking the levies would bring down the percentage of phone use by a customer per day.

He said if a customer used Sh500 to get eight minutes of airtime, then that particular customer would be forced to use less minutes, depending on the remaining credit on the phone.

A phone user named Dickson Joseph said due to a multitude of levies per day, the communication gadget would not be used much.

“We are going to park our phones. There has been an outcry over raised levies on transactions and as well levies on sim card lines. It will be a disaster when they take effect,” Mr Joseph said in Dar es Salaam.

“They had better resort to either of the two, otherwise phones will be hard to use and life will be as simple as it used to be.” – nation.co.ke