Samia acts on mobile cash transfers outcry

20Jul 2021
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Samia acts on mobile cash transfers outcry

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday directed relevant ministries to look into the recent hike in mobile money transaction levies following a public outcry that they are too high to carry.

Finance and Planning minister Dr Mwigulu Nchemba said that President Samia has heard people’s complaints against the new mobile money transaction charges and that she had instructed the ministry to work on the matter.

The government last month amended the Electronic and Postal Communication Act (CAP 306) by imposing a levy on mobile money transactions, depending on the amount sent and withdrawn, in an effort to raise revenue collections by 1.254trn/- to partly finance the 36.68trn/- budget for the 2021/2022 financial year.

 “We want to assure the general public that the government has heard their concerns and that we are working on them,” asserted the minister, noting the Head of State has been personally touched by people’s complaints.

Mwigulu urged the public to remain calm as the government works on the matter saying their complaints have reached the president and she is concerned about the rates.

 Since the levy was now legally-binding after the legislature approved the 2021 Finance Act and the Appropriation Act, the Treasury and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will have to work on the regulations and see the way forward, he stated.

Work on the public grievances was in full gear and that the Prime Minister had convened a meeting where the government shall deliberate on the subject matter, he further asserted, noting that the government will continue clarifying on issues that need to be explained and also find out areas that need rectification.

 Treasury experts are already looking at the National Payments System while ICT ministerial experts  are also looking at the Electronic and Postal Communications Act with a view to identifying areas that need to be examined, he elaborated.

ICT Minister Dr Faustine Ndugulile assured the public that the issue will be worked on nd solved once and for all.

A rough calculation of the charges indicate that sending 1m/-  to someone and having the money withdrawn will cost a total of 31,000/- if all the current and new charges are added up.

The levy, which became effective on July 15, has since been roundly criticized as people believe the amount being deducted was contrary to what was stated in the Budget estimates.

Some have gone to the point of promoting other transaction mechanisms, including through banks and hard cash personal conveyance to dodge the sharply accentuated deductions.