A report in the state owned Herald newspaper today says that government has approved an increase in taxes for ‘mobile network charges’ and ‘mobile banking charges’ apparently to fund an upcoming general election. The revelation was made by Zim finance minister Tendai Biti yesterday as he addressed the media on the state of the economy.
Earlier this year, Biti said the government was going to increase the operating license fees for mobile network and fixed telephone operators from the current US $100 million to $180 million. We’re guessing this is the same increase he was talking about yesterday, but the reference to “tax” could also mean a transaction based increase as opposed to a license level one. We’ll be finding out more.
As for the mobile banking charges, that may also be a bit inaccurate. We’re guessing they are talking about mobile money transfer charges and not mobile banking. But it gets all blurred sometimes so it’s quite understandable. Mobile Money is a new sector that has obviously become quite appealing to the tax man seeing its remarkable growth over the past year. The impressively high EcoCash transaction traffic Econet posted late last year also likely got the politicians salivating. Nothing is certain in life but this they say!
Biti says however that even though they have gone as far as getting cabinet approval for the increases, his ministry will not implement the taxes “until Government is satisfied that it would not affect the general populace.” Believe them. They are the government!