The introduction of the tax on internet phone calls in Zambia was passed this August 2018 during a cabinet meeting held at State House. This move comes after a high increase in the number of users who prefer to make calls through their mobile based applications such as Whatsapp and Viber. The implementation of this tax law means that the citizens of Zambia will incur double taxation in their communication charges.

"The mobile airtime that Zambians purchase to use for talk time and internet bundles is taxed and therefore subjecting people to a second tax is not only unfair but disastrous to the economic lives of the already struggling citizens."

Digital Grassroots strongly condemns the move by the Zambian government to tax internet phone calls at 30 ngwee a day. This is a violation of the digital rights of the Zambian people and an infringement to their freedom of speech and expression.

"Many internet users in Zambia are the young people aged between 18- 30 who rely on the internet for their socio-economic development. These young people are already facing economic problems brought about high prices of basic commodities and unemployment." 

To further aggravate this situation by double taxation seems to be a setback for the development of the young people in Zambia. Since the introduction of this tax, many Zambians have taken to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the government of its decision.

It is unfortunate that as we work towards more access, openness and secure internet, the government of Zambia continues to frustrate these efforts through this law. Digital Grassroots therefore calls upon the government of Zambia to listen to its people and immediately suspend this law. 

It should instead strengthen its efforts in ensuring that more people regardless of their economic status can access the Internet freely.

The Social Media Tax in Uganda had bad implications on the economy and a trend of digital rights abuses in the developing world. Zambia is a peacable nation and must uphold human rights online and offline. The Internet tax is a breach to the freedom of speech and we condemn it.


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