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Senate imposes tax on GSM, cable TV subscribers

The Bill for an Act to establish the Communication Service Tax, on Wednesday approved the first reading in the Senate

The bill, which was sponsored by a former Senate leader, Ali Ndume, was presented to replace the 2.2 percent increase in value added tax that the federal government is planning.

Ndume said the increase in VAT would have devastating effects on the economy, as it would increase the prices of goods and services.

However, he added that the tax on communication services, which charges 9% on calls and data, will ensure the distribution of wealth in a way that does not affect ordinary people.

The bill reads in part, “There shall be imposed, charged payable and collected a monthly Communication Service Tax to be levied on charges payable by a user of an electronic communication service other than private electronic communication services.

“The tax shall be levied on electronic communication services supplied by service providers.

“For the purpose of this clause, the supply of any form of recharges shall be considered as a charge for usage of electronic communication service.

“The tax shall be levied on such electronic communication services like voice calls, SMS, MMS, data usage – both from telecommunication service providers and internet service – as well as pay per view TV stations.

“The tax shall be paid together with the electronic communication service charge payable to the service provider by the consumer of the service.”