The Democratic Republic of Congo parliament commission recommended the government scrap an unpopular “phone tax”, because it has not been able to trace the funds raised so far, according to a parliamentary report.
Last year, the telecoms ministry introduced a levy aimed at raising funds for Congo’s telecoms regulator to be able to register mobile phones and other devices in a secured central registry.
Congo’s telecoms minister has defended the levy in the past saying it was needed to remunerate the regulator for the secured central registry.
The government began charging $1.17 worth of tax in six instalments for prepaid mobile 3G and 4G phones last year, and $0.17 for 2G phones. The development raised the rage of Congolese consumers and protests from opposition parties.
Consumer associations and Congo’s opposition parties said the introduction of the levy, and the management of the millions of dollars raised so far, has been opaque.
There are over 41 million mobile phones connected in the Democratic Republic of Congo, government data shows.
30% of the income generated by the levy would go to the private service provider recruited to implement the technical set up of the central registry, while 25% would go to the regulator, 40% to the government and 5% to telecom operators, a Congo Senate commission report said in October.