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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Zambia defends decision to introduce charge on internet calls

LUSAKA, (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government on Tuesday defended its decision to introduce a charge on internet phone calls, saying it was important for the sustainability of the telecommunication industry.

On Monday, the Zambian cabinet approved the introduction of a 30 ngwee (0.03 U.S. dollars) daily tariff charge on internet phone calls.

Many have condemned the move, saying it was an extra burden on citizens.

Minister of Transport and Communications Brian Mushimba said the move has been necessitated following a drop in the use of traditional calling methods which has affected revenue for both the government and operators in the industry.

He said the government wants to discourage citizens from using internet calls on Facebook or WhatsApp as the country is not benefiting from the revenue the two companies collect.

Mushimba told a press briefing that investigations conducted have revealed that the government will be raising about 22 million dollars a year through the tariff charge.

He said only about 1 million citizens of the estimated 4.5 million people with smartphones in the country use internet phone calls.

The minister said the money collected from the new charge will be shared between the government and the operators who will reinvest it in their operations.

           

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