New tax on cellcos to fund budget

10 Jan 2011

The government of Niger will introduce a new tax on mobile phone operators to help fund an anticipated rise in state spending. According to a report by news agency Reuters, Niger plans to spend over XAF1 trillion (USD1.9 billion) on infrastructure and anti-poverty projects in 2011, as well as funding a 10% increase in public sector pay. Mahaman Laoualy Dan Dah, spokesman for the ruling military junta, said that the West African country would levy new taxes on mobile operators to help fund the budget, which it plans to keep balanced. ‘The contribution from telecoms to the budget has been weak up to this point, despite the enormous resources of the telecoms operators,’ he said, without giving any details on the new taxes. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Niger is home to four wireless operators: market leader Airtel Niger, which had a market share of 57.5% at 30 September 2010; France’s Orange Niger (27.3%); Moov Niger, which is a subsidiary of Atlantique Telecom (itself owned by the UAE’s Etisalat, 11.8%); and SahelCom, a subsidiary of state-owned telco Sonitel (3.4%).