Friday, July 11, 2014

Mobile phone companies join Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society’s petition against simcard tax

By Waryoba Yankami;10th October 2013

Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society lawyers Fatma Karume (R) and Beatus Malima (C) in discussion at the High Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday with state attorney Alesia Mbuya.
The High Court, Dar es Salaam Zone yesterday allowed mobile phone companies to join the Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) in a petition lodged against the 1,000 simcard tax imposed by the government.

The mobile phone companies are MIC Tanzania Limited, Vodacom, Airtel, Zanzibar Telecom Limited and Tanzania Telecommunications Company (TTCL).

The companies requested to be part of petitioners in the case through an affidavit avowed by advocate Tumaini Shija which the court said it would allow on condition that it is submitted by October 15, next week.

Judge Mujuluzi maintained that the state has no good reasons to object the mobile phone companies’ request to join the petition filed by TCAS noting that the preliminary objection will now be amended so as to recognize them as a part of petitioners.

He made it clear that he wants both sides to find an amicable solution acknowledging on one hand that the government needs revenue but on the other hand ‘consumers’ rights must be observed.’

“After the mobile phone companies complete and submit their affidavits, the High Court will meet on October 21, this year to rule whether the 1,000 simcard tax should stay or not,’ Judge Mujuluzi ruled.

In filing the case, TCAS asked the court to nullify the legislation passed by the parliament requiring every mobile user to be deducted 1000/- monthly as simcard tax, claiming that the majority of simcard users in the country cannot afford the expense.

According to the petition, the legislation goes against the country’s mother law especially on right to information.

Furthermore, the petitioners requested the court to order the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs through the Tanzania Revenue Authorities (TRA) not to implement the law until the ruling of the petition.

Deputy Attorney General George Masaju and Principal State Attorney Edson Mweyunge objected to the application which was submitted on Monday by Advocate Fatuma Karume and Beatus Malima who represent the companies.

According to Advocate Mweyunge, the application is before the court but the applicant did not ask for leave of court to represent other parties.

“According to the law, an applicant who wishes to represent many parties is to ask for leave of court first,” established Advocate Mweyunge.

The Deputy Attorney General and Mweyuge are the representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs while the Attorney General is the respondent in the case.

Source; The Guardian

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