THE Government has been urged to review the five per cent hike on excise duty for talktime because the move does not match the quality of services offered by existing local mobile service providers.
Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) executive director Muyunda Illilonga said in Ndola that before increasing excise duty on talktime from 10 to 15 per cent in 2014, Government could have considered that local mobile service providers in Zambia do not offer efficient services.
Mr Illilonga said ZACA condemns the recent increase in the price of talktime because communication must be affordable as it is key to participation of Zambians in development of the country.
“The move will affect consumers and the commercial sector because high costs of utilities such as communication would only increase the cost of doing business on the domestic market,” he said.
Mr Illilonga said Government should emphasise on efficiency to reduce the escalating cost of utilities such as electricity and communication, so that consumers pay for efficient services.
“The three mobile service providers must warrant the increase in the price of talktime because this does not equate with the quality of services that the consumers expect from them,” he said.
Mr Illilonga called on the Zambia Information Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) to closely monitor the operations of MTN, Airtel and Zamtel so that the cost of talk-time can be lowered to an affordable price for the ordinary consumer.
Recently, Kitwe District Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KDCCI) president Raj Karamchand said the increased price of talktime would increase the cost of doing business in Zambia.
Mr Karamchand said now that transactions were done via mobile phone, excise duty on talktime should have been reduced further to serve this purpose.
“The increase in excise duty on talk-time by five per cent is unwelcome as this move would hike the cost of airtime and of doing business because most transactions are done via mobile phone,” he said.
Times of Zambia