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Zim government approves tax increase for telecoms & “mobile banking” to fund elections

Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti

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!

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Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

9 thoughts on “Zim government approves tax increase for telecoms & “mobile banking” to fund elections

  1. quiz: what does zanu & mdc (read politicians) have in common? answer: Shagi!! gvt will not oppose this.

  2. Desperate measures for a desperate situation.

    We’re just keen to know what this translates to the man on the street holding his cellphone

  3. This is terrible… if the bit about “Mobile Banking” is true, Exploit a burgeoning sector of the very banking sector which was ravaged by the government during the previous election period? Yea why not lets do it again… I’m very disappointed at the leaders of this country.

  4. I thought the government had already received a huge donation from SADC or the UN for the elections?
    Even if they haven’t received anything, they already hiked taxes on fuel distributors to aid payment of the election! WOW this is really getting interesting……

  5. where do they think these telecomms get revenue, well wishers? its obvious that the operators will be inclined to pass on the burden on consumers. Maparastatals makauraya makuda kudzipa varikugona basa.

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