Operators upbeat on tax waiver
GOVERNMENT| July 16, 2012, 10:29 a.m.
By Omondi Julius Odera, Kampala, Uganda
The Ugandan digital TV sector has welcomed the government’s decision to waive the 25% import duty on set top boxes (STB) for a year. This development was announced in the recent financial budget 2012-2013 by the Minister of Finance, Maria Kiwanuka.
“The government through Ministry of ICT, UCC, NITA-U, initiated the idea (tax waiver) on behalf of Government. It is aimed at stimulating the switch from analogue to digital,” noted public relations officer of ministry of ICT David Kiirya.
The decision is a relief to the stakeholders in the industry.
Multichoice Public relations officer Tina Wamala said: “We were very much encouraged by the Government’s decision to remove taxes on Set Top Boxes. This one-year waiver will allow us to save money which we can use to make further investments in our business, including infrastructure development, technological advancements and customer care process improvements aimed at further augmenting our product and service offering to our subscribers.”
The same views are shared by Star Times Digital Television Marketing manager Simon Arineitwe, “Obviously there's a relief as per the budget, because import duty was 25%. Cutting this ultimately has a substantial effect on the market price. He also notes that it is the right timing when the country is undergoing the implementation phase of its digital migration.
The move is aimed at enabling the masses to buy the set top boxes at a reduced price. Currently, the STBs range from UGX 60,000-250,000. However, the government will not compel the operators to sell the set top boxes at a specific price.
The operators are upbeat about the tax waiver and are already promising a better deal for customers.
“Our customers should expect the best offers on the market plus an excellent customer service”, notes Arineitwe. Multi choice’s Tina notes, “This move will have a very positive effect on the industry and help stimulate uptake of digital technology among the masses because the tax waiver will give us the operators the opportunity to reduce our prices to the end users.”
She also commends the government for the move noting: “The tax waiver demonstrates to us the operators that the Government understands the country’s need to honor its regional obligations and the importance of the digital migration to the entire economy which is the reason the (STB) tax waiver is one of the few that has been introduced this financial year.
The operators, however, fault the government for the time frame of the tax waiver on STB noting that the one year period is very short. Tina explains: “The tax waiver period though (one year) is very short ideally we would have wanted the Government to remove taxes on STB for a lot longer so as to ensure as many people as possible would be able to enjoy the benefit; you see there are only a given number of decoders that we the operators can import into the country every year yet the number of televisions households is far greater and growing steadily.”
She adds that global demand for STB is currently very high, and ideally this tax waiver should be kept in place till 2016 well after the Global migration deadline elapses.
Digital migration is a process during which services that operate on analogue network are transferred across to digitally based network over a specific period of time.
The main purpose of the migration process is to ensure that all services operating on the analogue network will be fully replicated on the digital network with the aim to switch off the analogue services at a specific point in time.
MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS
APC judgment: NCC seeks stay of executionNCC is seeking a stay of execution of judgement following a notice of appeal against the High Court judgement that it violated the rights of the APC. Read More
Digital can overcome Africa’s challenges – Ivory Coast PMAfrica has serious challenges and to overcome them, the continent needs to go the digital route, Ivory Coast Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan said at the 2015 Africa IT & Telecom Forum (AITTF) last week. Read More
NCC postpones 2.6GHz spectrum auction againNigeria’s telecoms industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has again postponed the proposed auctioning of the 2.6 gigahertz (GHZ) spectrum band it started about two week ago. Read More
Public private partnerships panacea to broadband development, says Etisalat chiefChief Executive Officer of Etisalat Group, Ahmad Julfar has identified public private partnership (PPP) as one approach that could help African countries boost broadband development. He argued that access to broadband is a basic right for everyone. Read More
Experts commend Rwanda as a model in using ICT and e-GovernancePolicy makers and experts in ICT gathered in Kigali for the Commonwealth e-Governance Forum Africa from 24-25 March 2015 have commended Rwanda as a model in using ICT and e-Governance for sustainable development. Read More
Pay APC N500m, court orders NCC, telcos - NCC appealsAs the presidential election draws near, a Federal High Court has ordered the regulator of the telecoms sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and five other telcos to pay the All Progressives Congress (APC) the sum of N500 million for unlawfully shutting down the party’s presidential campaign fund-raising platform. Read More
CPC reads riot act to telcos, banks, others over consumer rights breachesNigeria’s Director-General, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Mrs. Dupe Atoki, has warned telcos, banks, Pay TV service providers and others in the country that end is near for the flagrant abuse of customers’ rights. Read More
Togo launches Digital School Togo projectThe West African nation of Togo has launched the pilot phase of ‘Digital School Togo’, a project that is aimed at introducing digital technology in teaching and underpinning the critical importance of ICTs in the education system. Read More
Ghana Presidency gets a new E-Cabinet platformGhana’s cabinet on Thursday witnessed a major boost as the President John Dramani Mahama unveiled a new E–Cabinet platform to used by himself and members of his cabinet. Read More
FEATURED STORY2bn priced out of internet access
A new report from the Alliance for Affordable Internet shows that the price of broadband remains prohibitive for billions in developing and emerging countries, with women and rural dwellers hardest hit.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHVillagers get solar training at Barefoot College
The Botswana Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) has seconded seven semi-illiterate mostly Ngwatle villagers for a six month solar electrification training course at the famed Barefoot College in India.
COMPANY NEWSMicrosoft 4Afrika launches Biz4Afrika online SME hub
Microsoft 4Afrika used the opening of the Connected East Africa event in Diani, Kenya today to launch Biz4Afrika, an online hub providing Kenyan small and medium enterprises ...