Following similar initiatives in Kenya and Uganda, Zimbabwe has introduced a tax on mobile money transactions.
Leading mobile operator Econet Wireless has said a fee of five cents will be charged to subscribers for activities such as sending and receiving money, and paying bills via mobile phones.
The additional fee will be used to pay for the government tax. The operator, which is the country’s largest mobile money provider, wrote to its subscribers last week about the new charge.
The move follows an announcement of a similar tax on mobile money transfers by the Ugandan government in June last year. And Safaricom in Kenya introduced a tax for M-Pesa users earlier in 2013.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa argued in a budget presentation on 19 December that transactions through mobile money platforms had to conform to the country’s existing tax regime for ATM and point-of-sale transactions.
He introduced new taxes for mining and mobile money transfers as part of the country’s budget.
Zimbabwe’s Econet Wireless has more than three million users of its mobile money services.
According to GSMA Intelligence, the operator has 8.5 million mobile subscribers, dwarfing rivals NetOne and Telecel (Q3, 2013 figures).