Zambian opposition attacks internet call tax

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Zambia’s main opposition party has condemned the government’s move to introduce a daily tax of $0.03 (£0.02) on all internet-based calls, calling them “visionless”.

“We wonder who told them that Zambians are using these avenues for free because all we know is that subscribers are already taxed for using social media platforms each time they buy data bundles,” Percy Chanda of the United Party for National Development said.

The Opposition’s reaction came at the heels of government’s attempt to introduce a tax on internet phone calls in a bid to protect jobs in the telecommunications sector.

Daily tariff charge 
”Thirty ngwee ($0.03; £0.02) daily tariff will be charged through mobile phone operators and internet providers,” government spokesperson, Dora Siliya said after the cabinet’s meeting on Monday.

Siliya said the increase in online phone calls was coming at the expense of traditional providers such as Airtel, Zamtel and MTN.

Research indicates that 80% of Zambian citizens are using Whatsapp, Skype and Viber to make calls, she added.

Social media tax implementaion
The tax comes weeks after Uganda implemented a social media tax to boost government revenue and to end “gossip” on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.

At present, Zambians pay for internet calls through bundles or Wi-fi

 

Emmanuel Ukoh