Telecoms sector appeals for tax reduction

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have appealed to the Government to reduce multiple taxes levied on the telecommunications industry to enhance operational viability and new investments.

In a virtual address on Monday, during a Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) Strategic Workshop, the Telecommunications Operators Association of Zimbabwe (Toaz) representative, Mrs Angeline Vere, who is also Telecel Zimbabwe chief executive officer said technology continues to evolve and as operators they expect a more responsive and accommodative regulator in order to promote innovation and flexibility in the operations.

“We are also appealing to the regulator to discuss may be with the Ministry of Finance and all the other stakeholders on the reduction of the over-taxation of the industry,” she said.

“In turn, innovation results in improved offerings through new services and products. We expect the regulator to facilitate open and robust engagements with stakeholders to solicit views and obtain relevant feedback, which must be considered in policy formulation.”

The country’s telecommunications players comprise the State-owned NetOne and TelOne, Telecel and Econet. The major needs for assistance border around financial support through foreign currency allocation.

Mrs Vere said at the moment players in the telecommunications industry were not getting enough of the foreign currency allocation from the auction market.

“At the moment, we pay . . . 3,5 percent licence and USF (Universal Services Fund) fees, 2 percent Intermediated Transfer Tax, 20 percent Nostro payment retention,” she said.

“We are also appealing for a reduction or removal of duty from mobile devices and also of the five percent duty on infrastructure renting and data or broadband purchasing, which is resulting in double taxation,” said Mrs Vere.

In addition, the telecommunications players were also expecting the regulator to facilitate equal access to Public Private Partnerships and e-Government and other opportunities in order to promote the growth of the sector.

The industry plays a critical role in promoting the National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025), which the Government has embarked on as the country moves towards the attainment of an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

In an interview on the sidelines of the workshop, Potraz director general Dr Gift Machengete pledged to work towards facilitating an enabling environment for the growth and development of the telecommunications sector.

“On behalf of Potraz, we have been engaging Government on issues to do with taxes and we will continue to lobby that some of the taxes are reduced in this sector,” he said.

“Our ICT sector is an enabler and it cuts across all the other sectors. So, if it is heavily taxed, it means that has got implications to the other sectors as well. We continue to lobby so that these taxes are reduced,” he said. — @KazungaOliver

You Might Also Like