For every Gigabyte of Data you purchase while in Burundi, you will be taxed 18% effective July 1, according to the new government directive.
The bill establishing the general state budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year was adopted by the National Assembly in May. It institutes a mobile telephone tax via megabits.
Consumers of an internet package greater than or equal to one gigabit will have to pay an 18% tax as of July 1, when the 2021-2022 fiscal year is expected to begin.
During the analysis of the bill on the general budget of the State fiscal year 2021-2022, the Minister of Finance specified that this tax will contribute to the maintenance of Burundian roads which are currently, for the most part, in a alarming state.
The Minister of Finance indicated that the 2021-2022 financial year provides for a road maintenance fund of BIF 28 billion. This falls within the objectives of the Burundian government: “zero potholes”.
The budget proposes an institutionalization of a tax on mobile telephony via megabits. From a capacity greater than one GB, says Mr. Ndihokubwayo, the Bill provides for a taxation of 18% of the purchase cost and an annual flat-rate road charge.
For example, with the Econet –Wireless a gigabit which now costs 2,500 BIF for a validity of two days. With the new tax the user will be forced to pay 2950 or an increase of 450 BIF.
At the mobile phone company Viettel, the prices for gigabits are; a gigabit costs 1000 BIF valid for one day. With the new tax if the company implements this law, the price will be BIF1180. For anyone who buys a 20 GB package that costs 90 thousand BIF today, he will be forced to pay BIF106,200, an increase of BIF16,200.
There are fears that this sudden spike in the cost of data is likely to trigger an increase in the price of Internet connection.
Noel Nkurunziza the President of the Burundi Consumers Association (ABUCO) argues that the purpose of the increase is understandable. But where the money comes from is where the concern lies.
The new information and communication technologies in Burundi are not popularized so that all Burundian citizens can see the merits, which is very useful.
“To review the price upwards is very deplorable. In other countries instead of increasing the price of the internet it decreases to allow people to be able to communicate, but in Burundi it is the opposite,” he said.