Congo Orders Telecommunication Firms to Pay $180 Million Yearly

Congo Orders Telecommunication Firms to Pay $180 million Yearly
Congo Orders Telecommunication Firms to Pay $180 million Yearly

According to persons familiar with the situation, the Democratic Republic of Congo has ordered mobile phone or telecommunication firms operating in the African country to pay a charge of almost $180 million every year.

Orange SA, Vodacom Group Ltd., Airtel Africa Plc, and Africell Holding SAL, among others, received invoices from the regulator through a consultancy, 5C Energy, according to the persons, who asked not to be identified because the subject is confidential. According to them, the figure is based on an invoice they received for a seven-week period.

Years of corruption and mismanagement have left Congo’s government finances in tatters, making it one of the world’s largest copper producers and the primary supplier of cobalt. As a result, President Felix Tshisekedi’s government has been looking for measures to extend its tax base and increase revenue.

“The regulator has invoiced varied amounts to Congo’s four mobile carriers — Africell, Airtel, Orange, and Vodacom — following the implementation of levies,” the Federation Des Entreprises Du Congo, the primary business association, said. “As of now, all of the DRC’s carriers have rejected these invoices as irregular and so unenforceable.”

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The industry group stated that it intends to continue discussions with the government and regulator in order to avoid price increases.

According to the sources, the new fee includes a charge for each call minute, message, and megabyte of data utilised by clients. They claimed that the tax could not be passed on to users.

Vodacom did not respond to a request for comment, and Airtel and Orange also declined to comment. Several phone calls, emails, and messages to the Congolese government, as well as 5C Energy, went unanswered.

Congo withdrew a plan to charge mobile operators last year after public outcry that it would lead to higher expenses.

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