THE 30 ngwee tariff introduced on internet phone calls should be reconsidered as it will have a negative impact on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), says the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS).
CUTS Centre Coordinator, Chenai Mukumba, said the decision would have implications on the cost of doing business and affect SMEs who depend on communication to offer services.
This is contained in a statement made available to the Daily Nation.
Ms Mukumba said communication was not a luxury service to the Zambian consumer but a necessary component of the day to day social and economic activities.
“It will have implications on the cost of doing business because as other countries are able to benefit from more efficient and affordable costs of communication whereas Zambian business will be burdened by additional costs that will make them less competitive. This will have the most sever impact on small and medium enterprises,” she said.
Ms Mukumba also said the shift in consumer preferences did not threaten the telecommunications sector as the providers of both the traditional phone call services and internet phone call services were largely the same companies.
She emphasised that the charge would instead take Zambia backwards as the rest of the world was moving forward in the telecommunications sector.
Ms Mukumba said Government should instead focus on ensuring improved service provision by the mobile phone operators.
“The growing indispensability of mobile phone services today speaks to the importance that the Government should place on ensuring not only the accessibility, but also the affordability of mobile phone services,” Ms Mukumba said.