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
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.
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