The new taxes on the services of the telecoms regulator recently introduced by the government are still not passed on to the operators. The latter see it as a ghost of the defunct tax on the Registry of mobile devices.
Telecommunications operators are refusing to pay the new taxes imposed on them by the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Congo (ARPTC). The first invoices sent via the consulting firm 5C Energy amount to approximately 20 million USD for the period from March 24 to mid-May 2022.
In a statement dated Tuesday, June 7, Congo’s national chamber of commerce said the new tax threatened to squeeze the sector whose taxes are already much higher than the average in sub-Saharan Africa. “ All operators in Congo have rejected these invoices, deeming them flawed and therefore unenforceable ,” the statement read.
The dispatch of these first invoices follows the application of Decree No. 22/11 of March 9, 2022 setting the calculation methods and rates of income from ARPTC services. This new tax replaces the Mobile Device Registry (RAM) tax that was abolished on March 1, ending an annual $1-$7 grab on phone credit top-ups introduced by the ARPTC in September 2020.
The new tax is expected to cost telecom operators USD 180 million per year. To deal with it, the latter announced, earlier this month, that they had no other choice than “ to increase the prices of various services on which the government has decided to apply these new charges ”. According to telecom companies, the government’s measures could repel investors in addition to unnecessarily increasing the burden on households in an already difficult socio-economic context.