How sending, receiving mobile ‘pesa’ to cost more

Friday July 09 2021
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By Ephrahim Bahemu

Dar es Salaam. The costs that you incur in the process of sending and withdrawing money via mobile phones will almost double starting next week.

This comes as the government starts collecting a little more from your cash in an effort to maintain the tempo of implementing mega development projects while simultaneously trying to dodge the allure of overtaxing the productive sector that had been bruised by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

In an effort to raise its revenues by a cool Sh1.254 trillion to partly finance the Sh36.68 trillion budget for the financial year 2021/22, the government last month amended the Electronic and Postal Communication Act, CAP 306 with a view to imposing a levy of between Sh10 to Sh10,000 in each mobile money transaction of sending and withdrawing.

The government gave telecommunication operators two weeks to automate their tariff systems by aligning them with the approved charges.

The Citizen, however, understands that operators were reluctant to adopt the charges and that they were still in discussions with the government.

“To send and withdraw an amount that we used to charge Sh6,000 as fee, one might now prefer to send a bodaboda rider to simply deliver the money in cash instead of sending it via mobile money because the charges are just exorbitant,” said a source privy to the topic on condition of anonymity.

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According to the source, sending Sh1 million to someone and having the money withdrawn will cost a total of Sh31,000 if all the current and new charges are added up.

The government proposes that one must pay Sh10 as levy when sending and withdrawing between Sh1,000 and Sh1,999 while someone who sends and receives over Sh3 million must pay Sh10,000 in the new arrangement.

While sending Sh1 million within the same network used to cost Sh3,500, the government will now collect Sh8,900 as its levy on the same transaction. This means that in total, the transaction will cost one a cool Sh12,400.

One sending and withdrawing between Sh20,000 and Sh29,999, must be willing to pay Sh960 than the money charged earlier on as the new levy starts to bite. Similarly, sending and withdrawing between Sh50,000 and Sh99,999, would cost one Sh2,050 in more charges than how it previously was. Sending and withdrawing between Sh500,000 and Sh599,99 will attract Sh5,200 in new levy.