MISA Zambia and Bloggers of Zambia call on PF Government to withdraw tariff on internet calls

47
3,974 views

MISA Zambia and the Bloggers of Zambia, a group of internet activists in Zambia have called on the PF Government to withdraw a tariff imposed on internet calls.

On Monday, Cabinet passed a resolution to introduce a 30 Ngwee a day tariff on internet calls on platforms such as What’s App, Viper and Facebook.

But the two organizations says they are worried with the fast speed at which the government is moving to enact the Cybercrime and Cyber Security Bill aimed at regulating Internet usage, especially social media in Zambia.

In a joint statement, MISA Zambia Chairperson Hellen Mwale and Bloggers of Zambia Cordinator Richard Mulonga said government must withdraw the tariff and rather consider investing in the ICT sector to ensure that all Zambians have access to affordable, reliable and open Internet.

“We are concerned about the proposed tariff of 30 Ngwe per day because it is a major threat to freedom of expression, access to information, media rights, freedom of assembly online an affront to the enjoyment of digital rights,” they said.

Citizens already pay for both data and airtime

They said the cabinet approval of the issuance of a Statutory Instrument that will facilitate the introduction of the tariff to be charged through mobile phone operators and internet providers is an affront to net neutrality, and affordable connectivity.

The two organizations stated that this is a form of double and punitive taxation and taxing individual users in lieu of the social media companies that actually make money.

“We are concerned about this proposal because it falls within a pattern of government clampdown on online expression as we have noted of late. We want to state that the proposed 30 Ngwee tariff on Internet calls will limit access to basic rights and it will harm businesses,” they said.

They said the proposed tariff on Internet calls is a threat to entrepreneurship and innovation as many youths and other citizens are using the Internet platforms to advance their socio-economic activities.

“Citizens across the country mobilise themselves using Internet calls. Why should we make this expensive in the midst of already over-taxed residents, coupled with high poverty levels? We are of the view that the underlying objective in the passing of this legislation is to stifle free expression rights of millions of Zambians who increasingly depend on online tools to communicate. We believe that this is a systematic attempt of censoring online platforms.”

“Recently, the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) fined Zambia’s three mobile phone service providers for offering poor services. This is evidence that citizens have been receiving expensive and low quality services, hence taking advantage of cheaper Internet calls,” they said.

They have since challenged the telecommunication companies to comment on the proposed tariff and state whether they are not making profits from the current business environment.

“Additionally, we ask whether there been any complaint from service providers citing major loss of business because citizens are making Internet calls. Citizens pay for both data and airtime. We also request for statistics and the evidence to warrant the tariff,” they said.

“With regard to the Cybercrime and Cyber Security Bill, our view remains that the process of enacting these laws must be made open and transparent for input from citizens, bloggers, journalists and activists.”

They added, “The process of drafting internet laws has been closed and non-participatory, prompting suspicions that the laws contain clauses that will close internet spaces.”

“We have noted that similar Internet laws in Egypt, Tanzania and Kenya have caused so much consternation as some of the clauses in the laws are purposely vague and they do not promote free speech and freedom of assembly online. We demand that the process of enacting the Access to Information law and operationalisation of the Media and Communications Policy be expedited together with the cyber laws,” they said.

“We also call upon bloggers, journalists and activists to join our clarion call for a free, open and safe internet ecosystem for all, including women and girls. Our campaign both on Facebook and Twitter is using the hashtag #OpenSpaceZM.”

Loading...

47 COMMENTS

    • Zambia needs a government by the people, FOR the people. Not these thieves in power.

      When the dust has settled, in the near future I pray, it will be clear that this current government has been an enemy of the people of this country.

      20

      3
    • It might sound silly but I think ECL balimucita akafifi without his knowledge. There’s noway a kateka like him can be this quite. He used to soka “I will fall on you like a ton of bricks”. Where is that ECL kanshi? I know the guy cares about the country but theres something definitely wrong somewhere.

      7

      3
    • Because Zambians are docile, they will let this go and Government and PF will get away with it.

      This docility is alarming. And I sure, when you read through here, you will still find a number of f.o.o.ls supporting this government move.

      Its really mind blowing !!!. Zambians are used, so we let them enjoy the music.

      8

      0
    • This GOvernment has done the right thing and I think the charges and fees are justifiable.

      I suggest everyone accepts it.

      Only someone mentally backwards thinks this is bad move.

      Thanks

      BB2014,2016

      1

      21
    • Bright idea.
      Let us widen the Tax base and grow the Country.
      The opposition wont like it. They hate the toll gates, they hate anything that will make this govt succeed. Its understandable if you think about it.

      3

      13
    • Which part of they are desperate for Money to cover the deficits don’t you get?? You people are either in denial or have a seriously demented mind…. and I mean the ones on this forum always trying to weave an explanation for this government …some of u even comparing US debt to Zambia and saying Zambia is better of in terms of debt ….Goodness me! Even calculating debt per capita comparisons…sinple question does America get part donor funded budgets …is American health system part funded by Zambia?? Is Millenium challenge completely funded by GRZ ??? Get your heads examined people your parents will be collapsing to see what you are churning out of your education

      4

      0
    • This is nothing but PF raising money for Election Campaigns in 2021.

      You can full a few people but not everyone. In the past all previous governments have bankrolled government controlled companies such as Zesco, Zamtel etc.

      0

      0
  1. It is an interesting statement but it should not end here. As citizens of this country, we have the right to petition the government on these decisions. Further to this, the same government is busy killing our middle class by awarding the Chinese companies with all the contracts. Where do they expect people to get the money from; when they are killing the economy of Zambia from every corner? The small middle-class in employment are being over stifled by over taxing them. Have we really run out of ideas of how to generate money?

    6

    1
  2. ‘following in the footsteps of Uganda’-its a pity people in power think everyone can be taken for a ride.
    If mtn,zamtel and whoever, are affected negatively by whatsapp,viber,messenger etc’s innovativeness, then they must close shop.
    We are concerned to see such subtle collective dictatorial tendencies across the dark continent aka Africa.

    4

    0
  3. Airtime already attracts a 17.5% excise duty. The K9 monthly tax on data bundle is nothing more than daylight robbery by the government.This is a double tax.
    Can someone explain how this theft of hard earned money will save a private profit making company like MTN. And why should my tax kwachas be used to save a company that will pay huge dividends and bonuses at the end of the year to its shareholders and employees?

    7

    0
  4. There is no opposition in Zambia. Thats why pf is on rampage.

    We need to distinguish between upend and a certain certain. Their leader made the two to look like one and same thing.

    Thats why its hard to wrestle power from PF

    1

    6
    • Don’t just blame the opposition, Zambians need to stand up and say enough is enough by voting PF out …. you have a choice so exercise it and stop the blame game

      5

      2
  5. Why is this government throttling some freedoms? Sounds like China, North Korea, Uganda, Tanzania and similar oppressive regimes. We don’t want to go on that road, please

    6

    0
  6. Simple.
    vote them out.
    what good have they done for you/Zambia?
    inflated prices on all their projects
    they’ve sold many key sectors of the country to the Chinese
    Zambian debt is three times what they are reporting
    pf is not good for Zambia. they are a selfish and greedy butch
    raise up and vote them out. that’s all you need to do. complaining of platforms such as this one is on as a way of venting. but even more importantly, don’t just complain. when it’s time to vote. think long and hard. vote them out. you’ve that power

    5

    3
    • The same age group that are complaining profusely are the same age group that say why should I vote when there are elections. Well you are going to charged twice again like they do with Toll fees.

      2

      0
  7. That’s one way of telling people to vote pf out we are tired of your stories ba pf every day hearing about money not development you really want to make poor Zambians to the poorest why imwe bafikala doing this our people?all pf you are *** even you the 1 will talk about my coment *****

    1

    0
  8. @mukolwe you are right 100% pf was my party I hate them for this I hate even were they step to walk i hate even their blankets for covering their shits

    1

    0
  9. Soldiers help Zambia to remove these *****s people from power we are tired of their she!t

    7

    6
    • But why are you making noice if you left Zambia . We are enjoying here . Soldiers dont provide solutions. Look at Zimbabwe

      Soldiers took over and chamisa lost again

      0

      0
  10. I left Zambia coz of empty promises of more money in their pockets that was the time I realized ooh these she!t *****s they are using us by saying more money in your pocket didn’t know they meant in their pockets

    6

    5
  11. Where is this country going please? At the rate this government is going, very soon they will start charging Citizens for breathing the air that they do not even know how it come and where it goes….charging people for being Alive! You upload an APP using your money this fool1sh government wants to charge….TWAPENGA PAFULA MWEEE!!!

    0

    0
  12. The last thing is to complain against his action. I warned Zambians sternly never to put PF in power; that you will start selling your children under them. Unfortunately, focus was on stopping a Tonga from being president that reflecting on the actual impact of PF in power. You care complaining about this James Tax? What will happen wen the entire US$20 billion debt as @2022 is offloading on you?

    2

    0
  13. In Zambia, its one week noise. And then quiet and business as usual. So this attempt by MISA and some blogger character protest is a one day event. Thank you

    2

    0
  14. I support the protest. My advice to you bloggers is that if you want our protest to succeed leave out politics. Once people perceive this as a Upnd thing, they will not support it. Just argue as genuinely aggrieved citizens. Let’s work against this tariff across political affiliations.

    3

    2
    • You are already political, by assuming that whoever is against what the government is doing then (s)he is attached to UPND.

      Only a few here don’t think that way. So don’t be ashamed to stand for what the people stand for without putting on PF/UPND hats.

      3

      0
  15. See Zambia go back to the stone ages when WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook (WTF- what the fnck) black out Zambia like Neanderthals.

    2

    0
  16. They want to protect the jobs of our colleagues at MTN,Airtel and Zamtel!! Since when they did they care about the loss of jobs? Did they protect the jobs of our colleagues at the Post newspaper? They disobeyed an order by the tax appeals tribunal to allow the Post newspaper to continue with their operations and threw breadwinners on the streets.

    6

    0
  17. This policy may backfire on the leadership, mark my words. The reason is because the internet is currently making the youths busy resulting in them temporarily forgetting their joblessness. By making it more costly to be on social media platforms, the youths will be left with so much idle time and the repercussions may be ghastly for the country. I think the people advising the president do not love him and i suspect they want him out of power, otherwise how do you explain the various wars that have been started with social groupings such as trade unions, students, landlords/tenants, civil servants, street vendors, marketeers, bloggers (most of whom are youths), farmers to name but a few.

    2

    0
  18. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, I think your friends, wants you out of power, now imagine what will happen to you when you leave presidency, don’t just concentrate on making the decisions of today, consider also the effects it will have on your future if you will still be alive by then, I can imagine you rotting in jail, then whats the point of all this confusion?? of all these taxes you are charging ordinary Zambians??I feel sorry for you

    4

    0
  19. Here we are charged for just entering a shopping mall and you are crying for things you can live without. Simply stop using the services and see how they will reap that tax. Problem with zambians is you are too much extravagant. Here we spend only where it matters. We dont switch on lights in day time. At night all lights are off except where you need it but for you dont care. Learn simple economics and it will benefit you alot.

    2

    2
    • Piss off naimwe, is here there? Do they have clueless !d!ots like PF running the country? Is the economic growth rate there as small as here under dunderhead Lungu? Do not compare a country that has an almost 100% employment rate where people can afford to pay ‘walking in the mall’ tax with this country where only a fraction are in formal employment. Just shows your brain does not work well at all. [email protected]

      1

      0
  20. Keep it up baPFools.Your people are so illiterate, they support even stupid decisions made crooks in this gvt.You already got it!!

    0

    0
  21. My God,what kind of HIGH LEVEL THEFT is this?
    MTN,ZAMTEL AND AIRTEL, have they seen this?And what’s their way forward?ZICTA,what’s your say?0.30×5minutes×10million pipo online as in assuming.
    Mmmmmmmm,this move has really moved my heart to a stone age and so is the country at large!!!!
    ECL is being unprecedented removed from power by his disciples through making him do things displeasing the country so that we vote the party out.
    WELCOME HH 2021 ……

    0

    0
  22. Having small brains whilst occupying high offices is not only a shame ,but diabolical.After seeing what these PF leeches in government are doing,one can now understand why God instructed Noah to only allow animals into the ark and not humans.
    Ma scandle yoka yoka!

    1

    0
  23. JUST DUNUNA MORE, MANGA PA BWATO CHITENGE & SUNSHA, MPAKA MUSANA UKONTAUKE’!!
    Mwanya, enjoy P.F, & “its developmental programmes”

    0

    0
  24. Putting K.30 is a on social media traffic is too cheap. I think K2.50 is a better price per day.

    0

    0
  25. @Mushota how can you say it’s justified when Mark Zuckerberg bought it (WhatsApp) for $6 billion and gave it to the world for free, and this government they just wants to profit from WhatsApp.

    0

    0
  26. Its really sad the way the government of Zambia is handling issues affecting many Citizens. It is true in the western countries many things are been taxed. But in as much our government would want to raise funds through social networks they must consider the negative effects it will have on the economic of the country instead of just concentrating on the advantage side of it.
    This is when Zambia is advancing in the area of Technology and ICT. The Government must first work on implementing what ever is needed to have a safe way of using ICT before imposing taxes. This development would have been understood if the ICT was fully established in Zambia. On the other hand, the government is failing even to support or empower the people who have undertaken role developing the ICT industry…

    0

    0

Comments are closed.