DRC telecoms levy spat escalates

DRC telecoms levy spat escalates

Industry body the Federation of Companies of Congo (FEC) accused the Regulatory Authority of Post and Telecommunications (ARPTC) of falsely denying it is levying operators with expensive taxes.

In a translated statement, the FEC said it “deplored” the ARPTC denying a Bloomberg report which claimed operators Orange, Vodacom Group, Airtel Africa and Africell were slapped with an increase in taxes which totalled US$180 million annually.

The FEC claimed operators have communicated that they rejected the latest alleged taxation measures from the ARPTC, launched this year, and warned any rise in taxes will result in higher consumer prices and the removal of promotions such as free data usage on social media apps.

The federation claimed invoices have been sent to all operators which amount to several tens of millions of dollars, covering the period between March 24 to mid-May this year.

Along with the invoices were the “threats” of penalties for refusal to pay, said the FEC.

“The FEC considers it inadmissible for the government to set up new taxes in favour of the ARPTC to remunerate its services on the one hand and does not accept to assume the logical consequence of a subsequent increase in the prices of these new charges on the other side,” the FEC stated.

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