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KENYA
Safricom's gripe with Kenyan budget
Alfred Ng'ang'a, Safaricom. Nairobi
Published: 15-JUN-05

Mobile phone service provider Safaricom had a gripe with this year's budget outlined by Finance Minister David Mwiraria in Nairobi.

Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph said " This is the second consecutive year that the budget has included a 10% excise duty on mobile phone airtime. Any reduction in excise duty would have resulted in a similar reduction on Safaricom tariffs.

" In such a win-win situation a reduction on Safaricom tariffs could easily stimulate call traffic, effectively nullifying the potential loss to the Government," Joseph explained.

� Safaricom welcomes this years budget speech which clearly offers some level of relief across the income brackets. The airtime excise duty is a relief compared to those imposed on beer and cigarettes," said Joseph.

Safaricom remits more than a quarter of the unit airtime cost to the tax authorities as Excise (10%) and Value added Tax (16%), explained Joseph.

But he added that Safaricom would continue lobbying the Minister for Finance for zero-rating excise duty on mobile phone airtime, to boost the sectors growth.

Safaricom is moving forward with a Kshs 14 billion network expansion and upgrade project.

The firm�s investment in a Kshs 2.4 billion Intelligent Network platform also appears to be paying off dividends. This has helped the easy rollout of the popular Sambaza airtime sharing service, East Africa pre-paid roaming services and an MMS services for its post-paid subscribers.

Currently having more than 2.7 million active subscribers, Safaricom hopes to grow their subscriber base with the ongoing network expansion programme to more than 82 rural towns and trading centres.

This expansion will meet the mobile telephone demand in some of Kenya's rural areas.

He added that Safaricom would however continue encouraging and lobbying the Minister for Finance to consider zero-rating excise duty on mobile phone airtime to further boost the sectors growth. In the meantime, Safaricom is progressing on with a Kshs 14billion network expansion and upgrade project. The firm�s investment in a Kshs 2.4billion Intelligent Network platform also appears to be paying off dividend and has facilitated the easy rollout of the now popular Sambaza airtime sharing service, East Africa prepaid roaming services and an MMS services for its post paid subscribers. Currently featuring more than 2.7 million active subscribers, Safaricom hopes to significantly grow her subscriber base with the ongoing network expansion program to more than 82 rural towns and trading centers. Safaricom is currently undertaking rapid expansion plans in the more rural areas of the country to meet mobile telephony demand.



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