'$4m tax loss prompted Potraz data tariff hike'

HARARE - Government’s directive compelling mobile telephone network operators to increase prices for Internet access was prompted by a loss of $4 million in taxes in 10 months, ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira said yesterday.

The Nyanga South legislator told Parliament that all actions were meant to protect the operators, viability of the telecoms industry so that they could retain jobs, and that investors and shareholders would be able to recoup their investment.

“There was evidence that the entire sector was bleeding as a result of the over-the-top (OTT) services. In June 2015 to April 2016, mobile operators lost 186 million minutes of voice calls and those minutes had been lost to OTT  services, to Skype, WhatsApp calling and the like," Mandiwanzira said.

“The potential monetary loss to mobile operators for those minutes for the period that I have specified is $26 million and the loss to Potraz in revenue, $139 000, and the loss to treasury through taxes was $4 million,” he said, adding “the biggest loser were the networks themselves”.

The former journalist later ordered a reversal of the tariffs after a public outcry.

According to a 2016 third quarter report by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, total voice traffic declined by 3,6 percent from the previous quarter, while mobile data utilisation increased by 16,1 percent over the same period.

Comments (3)

This $4m loss is not linked to the deposit that NetOne paid as deposit for licence fees?

Sagitarr - 8 February 2017

This idiot masquerading as a man who knows business or telecoms. Why are we cursed with this breed of politician? What did we do to deserve such idiots? Truth of the matter is operators foresaw this loss in revenue due to a drop in voice calls, hence they came up with the bundles. They make their money from the data as well so what does Supa mean revenue dropped? How does he then explain the reversal of the price increase? Supa, chingoti you are enjoying the benefits of been a minister and need to show relevance to your masters wotisiya nenhamo dzedu mhani. After all, Bob doesn't give a single sh about us anymore, why would telecoms fees hikes make a difference to us

Mbune - 8 February 2017

Skype, whatsapp, etc are used everywhere in the world, not only in Zimbabwe - yet no one wants to compensate lost minutes by overcharging the consumer, only in Zimbabwe. After murdering all the industries in Zimbabwe by annexing them with Kasukuwere (who by the way eats the capital by building a 50 bedroom mansion), you now see only telecoms as a means of revenuw to the extent of sacrificing people over $4 million. Seriously? You don't pay toll gate fees, you don't pay electricity, you don't pay water/rates, you don't pay for fuel - yet you want the country to generate revenue. How? Oliver Mandipaka even wants 2 cars as an MP so that he doesn't become destitute once voted out. We are cursed.

XG - 9 February 2017

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