More Africa NewsDRC relents on device registration tax

February 25, 2022by myles0

The DRC government said it will scrap the contentious device registration tax, effective March 2022.

The country first implemented the device registration programme in 2020 to help combat fraud and counterfeit devices.

The Register of Mobile Devices (RAM) tax compels customers to register their devices International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) with ARPTC (Autorité de Régulation de Poste et de Télécommunication).

Registered customers who use 2G devices are required to pay US$1, while those who use 3G or 4G devices have to pay US$7.

Funds are collected by the regulator, which has blocked numbers of subscribers who failed to either register or pay.

Critics of RAM have accused authorities of using the tax to steal from consumers and that the government has not been transparent about the levy or plans regarding funds collection.

In October last year, the leader of opposition coalition Martin Fayulu said, “We are calling for the immediate withdrawal of RAM because its theft and a scam. Let’s march and denounce it because its theft. Once withdrawn, all monies collected must be returned.”

Subsequently the country’s Minister of ICT, Post and Telecommunications Augustine Kabissa Maliba was called on to explain to Parliament why the process of registering a phone had been transformed into a tax.

The government then scrapped the tax applied to 2G devices, but not to 3G or 4G devices.

In December last year, a Parliamentary Commission recommended that the government withdraws the tax because the Commission could not trace the funds raised either in the general budget or in the special account.

During a Ministerial Council meeting, it was decided to scrap the tax entirely.

Minister Maliba said, “All measures are taken so that from March 1, 2022, all direct withdrawals from subscriber units as remuneration for the service known as ‘Register of Mobile Devices’ cease definitively. This decision is in response to the cries of distress of the Congolese people in the face of the removal of the communications units and the recommendation of the people’s representatives.”

Source: IT Web Africa

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