Authorities say they will stop counterfeiting through this government-backed project. Problem: the tax is charged, even if it is contested, when recharging communication credits.
A civil society organization intends to arrest this Tuesday, January 5, President Felix Tshisekedi and other authorities in the country to demand the abolition of this tax, which has already been levied for several months.
The authorities in the Ministry of Post, Telecommunications and New Information and Communication Technology promote through the local press RAM, ie. the register of mobile devices, which enables them to stop counterfeiting by disconnecting devices identified as incompatible. With this service, the authorities believe that consumers are safe, except that many of them are annoyed.
Joël Lamika is at the forefront of the national movement called “Offended Consumers”: “It is an antisocial decision. The Congolese state has no interest in taxing the end user of a pirate phone, it is appropriate to tax the importer of pirate phones. They have sufficiently proven to us that they do not understand the difference between SIM cards located in a modem and SIM cards located in a telephone. The tax is worth about 8 US dollars, we would say, and it does per. Quarter $ 1.17 per. User, it’s really too much. When you go to Rwanda, it is a service offered by the Rwandan state for free. ”
The referral to the authorities is accompanied by an ultimatum. “After 72 hours, if the authorities ever give any feedback, we will be forced to be on the streets all over the country to say no to the point where we seize the Council of State. We will do everything possible, ”warns Joël Lamika.
Access to telecommunications services that are already expensive is becoming more and more expensive and is helping to strengthen the digital divide, the movement warns. Authorities believe the protesters are being manipulated. A senior official recalled that RAM is a recommendation of the International Telecommunication Union, of which the DRC is a member.