Tuesday, 14 August 2018

ZAMBIA TO TAX WHATSAPP CALLS


The Zambian government is to introduce a tax on internet phone calls in a bid to protect jobs in the telecommunications sector.

The 30 ngwee ($0.03; £0.02) daily tariff will be charged through mobile phone operators and internet providers, government spokesperson Dora Siliya said after a Monday cabinet meeting.

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

That research indicted that 80% of Zambian citizens were using Whatsapp, Skype and Viber to make calls, she added.

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

It is not yet clear when the tax will come into effect. Zambia's main opposition party has condemned the government's move to introduce the daily tax.

"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.

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

The government says research shows that 80% of citizens use WhatsApp, Skype, and Viber to make phone calls. bbc

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