Mobile money levy review is a move in right direction

THE Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba announced in Parliament on Tuesday a policy reversal on th transaction levies following a public concern that it makes the transactions expensive and increase the burden to wananchi.

The government responded positively to the public concerns over the levies and incorporated experts views in implementing directives by President Samia Suluhu Hassan and the ruling party CCM to review the levies so as to ease the burden on the people.

Officials from the Ministry of Finance and Planning met with members of the Tanzania Mobile Network Operators Association (Tamnoa) in Dodoma recently to gather expert views of the service providers about the impact of implementation of the law on electronic levies as well as getting consensus for a better solution.

They deliberated on challenges and benefits encountered by mobile service providers since the passing and effecting of the new electronic transaction levies.

We hail the government for reviewing the policy on mobile transaction levies because we understand it is going to reverse negative impact on the robust growing mobile money industry that has been a key driver of socio-economic growth by creating employment, driving business productivity, facilitating savings and investment, contributing to formalising the economy, and providing stability during economic downturns.

We are pleased that the government had weighed the needs for increasing tax revenue by widening the tax base and the growth of mobile services that have been main drivers of financial inclusion, contributing directly to economic growth and social development objectives.

Mobile money services have evolved from traditional payments such as domestic remittances and airtime top-ups, to more complex financial products like utility services payments, thanks to advancement of digital financial services in the country.

However, with the levies, there were concerns that if not checked, the levies could lead to the reversal of digital and financial gains that we have made.

While the main goal remains widening of the tax base to increase revenue collection that will finance out development initiatives, the government has at least become cautious of the short and long-term impact of the levies on the economic growth and development.

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