KENYAN CELL PHONE ACCESSORY SALES DIP OVER BUDGET TAX RISE 

Telecoms

Dealers in mobile phone accessories last week said they had recorded a sharp decline in sales volumes as the 10 per cent excise duty imposed on airtime in the 2003/04 Budget started taking effect. A cross-section of dealers interviewed by The Financial Standard said daily sales had fallen by about 50 per cent.

The most affected items include scratch cards, sim cards and handsets, which potential subscribers were shying away from due to the anticipated rise in calling costs. "We don’t know exactly what to do because our customers are scared of the impending high cost of mobile calls," complained Alfred Wanjohi, a dealer along Munyu Road in Nairobi’s central business district.

Telephone bureaux operators appear to be the beneficiaries of this crimp in mobile phone sales since most people now prefer making calls from the outlets in a bid to cut costs. Consequently, Wanjohi said the rate at which mobile phone users reload their credit has drastically gone down.

(Source : Financial Standard)