Safaricom announces revised charges on SMS, voice and data to reflect 20% excise duty
Safaricom has revised voice, data and SMS charges for its customers after the government increased excise duty on airtime and Telephone services from 15 to 20 percent.
The revised changes will be effective July 7, 2021.
“Following the Government’s move to adjust excise duty on airtime and Telephone services to 20% from 15% effective 1st July 2021, we have revised our product and services pricing to reflect these changes,” said Safaricom in a statement.
The cost of all fibre to the home and fibre to the business plans have also been revised to reflect the new excise duty.
According to the telco, pricing for all personal postpaid including Karibu postpay and all corporate postpaid products including Zidisha plus, cloud, security, collocation and IoT have also been revised accordingly to reflect in the subsequent monthly invoice.
However, the telco said all its customer data bundle data will remain unchanged at normal rates.
While the cost of purchasing airtime and data bundles may hold unchanged, the voice and data purchases will be depleted at a faster rate as unit costs rise.
The high taxes are likely to affect businesses and start-ups that directly or indirectly offer or depend on these services, especially businesses that operate on digital platforms.
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Kenya is one of the leading countries in internet usage and penetration in Africa.
As of January 2021, there were 21.75 million internet users in the country while internet penetration stood at 40 per cent.
Increased Charges for Fuliza
Safaricom subscribers who also borrow from its overdraft facility called Fuliza will have to pay extra fees following a revision of excise duty to 15 percent.
Subscribers on Tuesday started receiving messages on their mobile phones notifying them of the increase.
Safaricom said it had increased the interest rates after the 2021 Finance Act which came into effect on July 1, 2021, after President Uhuru Kenyatta signed it into law in June.
“Following the signing of the Finance Act 2021, starting July 6th, 2021 Fuliza daily fees will include 20% Excise Duty. Access fees remain at 1%. Dial *234# for the revised Fuliza charges,” the message sent to subscribers read.
Fuliza allows customers to complete M-Pesa transactions when they have insufficient funds.
The debt is recovered from M-Pesa balances automatically, but subscribers who do not settle their overdrafts within 30 days are barred from using their unused credit limit until they pay the outstanding amount.
Safaricom charges Fuliza customers a one-off 1.083 percent interest and a daily administrative fee that depends on the outstanding balance.