Already widely criticized for tax over-tax solicitation of telecoms, the government of Zimbabwe has again provoked the discontent of its population. The new tax it plans to introduce in the sector is seen as a threat to mobile penetration.
The government of the Republic of Zimbabwe wants to impose an additional tax of $ 50 in the mobile phone segment. It will apply specifically to imported mobile phones. The new tax is contained in the 2022 national budget, which has the theme: “Strengthening sustainable economic recovery and resilience”, presented on Thursday, November 25 to Parliament by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube.
In front, the deputies, the minister explained “ that while the imported cellphones attract modest tariffs of 25%, the funds realized however indicate an evasion of the tariffs due to the nature of the articles which can be easily concealed ”.
It is to fight this tax evasion that he proposes “ to introduce a tax of $ 50 which will be collected before the registration of new cellular handsets by the providers of mobile networks. However, when the duty has been paid, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority will refund the tax within 30 days of receiving payment from the mobile network operator ”.
The methods for collecting the new tax on imported mobile phones have not yet been specified. They should be if the tax is approved by Parliament. It will be added to the 5% excise duty introduced in 2014 on communication credit recharge cards, the 25% customs duty on imported mobile phones, and the 2% on electronic financial transactions.
Zimbabwe’s economy is expected to grow 5.5 percent in 2022, supported by higher output in mining, manufacturing, agriculture, construction, as well as construction, according to Mthuli Ncube. accommodation and catering services (tourism). This 2022 growth projection is however subject to risks related to the future evolution of the pandemic and its impact on key sectors of the economy.
In the 2022 budget, total revenue collected is projected at Zimbabwe $ 850.7 billion ($ 2.3 billion) (16.8% of GDP). On the other hand, spending is projected at Z $ 927.3 billion (18.3% of GDP). Total current expenditure will represent 13.4% of GDP, while investment programs will represent 5% of GDP. Labor costs will be contained at around 6.7% of GDP or 36.7% of income.
Consumers denounced the new tax on imported mobile phones. They consider that it risks causing a decline in the penetration rate of mobile telephony, which was 87.8% in the first quarter of 2021, and slowing down the adoption of smartphones, which is essential for the participation of the greatest number in the economy. digital.