Africa

Niger to reinstate tax on international calls

Niger is to reintroduce a tax on international calls in 2019, accusing telecom companies of failing to honour commitments to improve services, a parliamentary source said,

In 2016, Niger had 7.7 million mobile phone subscribers out of a population of 19 million.
In 2016, Niger had 7.7 million mobile phone subscribers out of a population of 19 million. (AFP)

Niger is to reintroduce a tax on international calls in 2019, accusing telecom companies of failing to honour commitments to improve services, a parliamentary source said,

The tax, dropped earlier this year, has been resurrected in the provisional 2019 budget, a member of the parliament's economic affairs committee told AFP.

It will be set at 50 to 88 CFA francs (7-13 euro centimes) per minute for incoming international calls, according to the government's draft legislation. Deputies will vote on it at the end of the year.

In 2017, this tax brought some 20 billion CFA francs (30 million euros) into Niger's public purse.

In 2018, it was dropped at the request of the telecoms companies, who promised to invest and broaden coverage.

Niger's Finance Minister Hassoumi Massoudou noted this week however that they had not kept their side of the bargain and the tax should be brought back.

Opposition deputies had denounced the decision to drop the levy, calling it an unjustifiable tax break for the telecoms companies.

In 2017, the ARTP public regulator handed out fines of more than 3.5 billion CFA francs to telecoms operators over their failure to improve services.

In 2016, Niger had 7.7 million mobile phone subscribers out of a population of 19 million.