High VAT bars many Tanzanians from using smart phones claims Nokia

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The government has been urged to reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) in mobile phones operations to enable subscribers to afford smart phones services as one way of boosting economic growth.

This was said in Dar es Salaam yesterday by Nokia General Manager in east and southern Africa Dorothy Ooko at the launch of the Nokia Messaging Service (NMS) alongside the Nokia C3, a new, handset which she said is set to positively change the way people interact on mobile phones.

“The new messaging service offering brings mobile messaging and social networking into the hands of more people, at affordable prices,” she said.

Ooko said that Nokia, in collaboration with other mobile phones manufactures, has been lobbying the government to see the possibility of reducing or even of removing VAT to mobile devices so that they can be affordable to everyone.

“It’s not easy, but we are still trying to convince the government to think of removing VAT on mobile phones. Mobile phones are not luxury goods, it’s a must to everyone at every home and village,” Ooko said, adding “due to the VAT, mobile phones are not affordable to some people.”

She said VAT charged on mobile phone devices has been killing business in Tanzania making businesspersons run to neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Rwanda to purchase handsets.

“We can’t give up easily, we will try harder and see because we believe that smart phones are the ones that can bring growth to any economy since most of the people need them for business purposes,” she added.