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Tax takes toll on Zambia's mobile operators

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 28 Apr 2016

Tax takes toll on Zambia's mobile operators

Zambian lawmakers have urged the government to provide tax relief to mobile phone operators in order to reduce the cost of communication and help operators expand their networks to remote rural areas where mobile communication remains a problem.

Lawmakers like Moses Chishimba claim that tax incentives could also lower the cost of communication in the country.

Chishimba told Parliament operators are also paying 3% levy of their total annual revenue to the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), making it difficult for them to invest in network expansion.

"Due to lack of investment, the quality of service for these operators has been compromised as they are failing to invest due to heavy taxation," Chishimba said.

He said mobile networks are concentrated in urban areas rather than rural areas because operators are aware they will recoup their investments quickly.

MTN Zambia, Airtel Zambia and Zamtel are the three mobile phone operators currently operating in the country.

MTN CEO Charles Molapisi revealed last month that the company paid ZMK382-million in taxes.

The Minister of Communications and Transport Kapembwa Simbao has argued that the government's rollout of telecom towers in rural areas supports mobile operators in their quest to expand networks.

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