THE Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has reacted to public appeal to reduce charges on internet bundles charged by telecom companies, saying the matter needed balancing between consumer, the government and service providers.
“We must first look at production cost so that the companies could operate profitably and ensure the government collects taxes as required,” Deputy Minister for the portfolio, Eng Kundo Mathew, said.
The Deputy Minister was responding to a question from Mr Lazaro Nyamoga (Kilolo MP-CCM), who wanted to know measures that have been taken by the government to ensure internet and mobile phone users get price relief.
The lawmakers said for a long time now the public have been complaining of increased charges when using mobile phones.
Eng Mathew said the first step taken was to standardise charges of internet bundles charged by the companies since the rates differed from one company to another.
On the other hand, the deputy minister explained on efforts that are being applied to ensure communication services reach all parts of the country.
He said the government through the Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF) has helped to connect various parts of the country to the communication network.
For a long time now the MPs were complaining about poor communication at border areas, but the deputy minister noted that an evaluation had been done to identify those places with poor mobile communication.
“During the next financial year, we will float a tender to find a contractor for building communication infrastructures in those areas,” he said.
In his primary question, Mr Nyamoga wanted to know when the government would construct communication towers at Masisiwe, Nyanzwa and Irole wards which face serious communication challenge in his constituency.
The deputy minister said Ilolo constituency has 24 wards, whereby through the Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF) has completed implementation of projects for bringing communication services at three wards of Lugalo, Udekwa and Ukwega.
However, the deputy minister admitted that some of the wards were still facing communication challenges because geographically the area is hilly with many tall trees, a situation that hinders communication services.
However, he said UCSAF did an evaluation and the problem will be solved during implementation of the project to be undertaken by the TTCL Corporation, for bringing communication to border areas.