1,000/- SIM Card Tax,Mobile Operators were not consulted

These taxes are raising questions everyday, Ministers say they were against it, Mobile Operators are saying they weren't consulted. An unfolding Drama.

TigoNEW LOGOZantelAirtel

Mobile Operators were not consulted
Dar es Salaam, 11th July, 2013 … The Mobile Operators Association of Tanzania (MOAT) was not consulted about the 1,000/- monthly excise tax on all SIM Cards that was proposed in the 2013  Finance Bill Amendments that were passed by Parliament  on Friday June 28,2013.
In a statement issued to the media, the Association said it met with the Parliamentary Budget Committee in Dodoma on June 20, 2013 to seek clarity on the definition of telecommunication services as stipulated by the  draft 2013  Finance Bill following the government’s move to impose a 14.5% excise tax on  the services offered by the telecommunications sector.
At the time of the meeting, telecommunication services were defined as: a service of any description provided by a telecommunication company by means of any transmission, emission or reception of signs, signals, writing, images and sounds or intelligence or information of any nature, by wire, optical, visual or other electromagnetic means or systems.
“We were therefore, as mobile operators not a party to the discussion on the introduction of this new tax, says the Mobile Operators Association. We call upon the Government to re-consider the Tshs1,000/- monthly charge per SIM Card and  in so doing, facilitate further growth of the telecommunications sector in Tanzania.  Tanzania has a mobile penetration of about 48%. This translates to approximately 22 million mobile phone users, out of which eight million spend  less than Tshs1,000/-  per month on mobile communication.”
The Association goes on to say that although it understands the government’s need to access funding for various development initiatives that target the poor, the proposed Tshs 1,000/- charge per month, which took effect on July 1, is contrary to this spirit because it penalizes the very people who are the focus of these development initiatives and who rely on this service to better their lives.
The Mobile Operators Association of Tanzania projects that  its growth over the next decade will come from rural areas and is concerned that the imposition of the Tsh1,000/- monthly charge will deter further expansion in rural areas as the new tax will not encourage the use of mobile communication services among the poor.

The Tshs1,000/- charge per month will also hamper the progress made in the mobile communication sector to date, which has seen services becoming increasingly affordable for all, says the Association.