Mobile telephone companies in Sierra Leone have increased their tariffs by 10 percent.
The reason for this increase according to them is the introduction of the Sales Tax by the National Revenue Authority (NRA), which is authorised by the Finance Act 2006, now published in the Sierra Leone Gazette Vol. Cxxxvi, No 67.
A public notice published early this week by the five functional companies in the country(Africell, Celtel, comium, Datatel and Millicom), states that subscribers will now have to pay more for their mobile telephone calls, starting yesterday Wednesday 18th January, 2006. Meanwhile, subscribers have expressed concern over this development and have started complaining. Hannah Bangura, a student of the Fourah Bay College questioned, " How can they do this to us? We have been complaining initially that the call charges for some networks were high and now all of them have joined to make things even worse"
Mary Kamara, a Civil Servant at the Youyi Building, remarked that the decision of the companies is an indirect way of exploiting the people. She went on to question, "How long can we go on with this poverty? When ever an attempt is made at ameliorating the condition of the people, something crops up that will derail it. I will try this new charge, if I cannot cope,I think I have to quit mobile communication," Madam Sesay said.
Mohamed Sesay, a business man in the central of Freetown, believes that government is not seeking the welfare of the people. He therefore questioned, "How can they be imposing taxes on everything of interest to the people? This is a new phenomenon in the country and instead of encouraging people, they are now scaring us away", Mr. Sesay maintained.
Tina Williams of Circular Road believes the addition is fair, considering the increase in price of petrol which is used to generate power at the various sites of the companies.
Kelvin Roberts, an Engineer at Sierra Leone Brewery considers the increament as an exploitation. "We’ve been patronizing them for far too long for which they should be considerate enough to disregard this increase", Mr. Roberts said.