For a year, at the request of the government and without the consent of Parliament, Congolese have been punished for every purchase of a mobile phone unit between one and seven dollars. A tax that is considered illegal, whether by the opposition, the majority or civil society, which even sees it as a “scam”. Audition of the National Assembly On Wednesday, October 13, the Minister of Telecommunications, very close to President Félix Tshisekedi, tried in vain to try to convince elected officials.
as reported from Kinshasa, Pascal Mulegwa
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, no elimination at the moment of the controversial tax on devices purchased for mobile phones. No dismissal of Augustin Kibassa, Minister for Services, Telecommunications and New Technologies (PT-NTIC). Tried at the National Assembly On Wednesday, October 13, after a two-week postponement, he assured that the revenues collected with the VAT Register for Mobile Devices (RAM) were not managed by his ministry, but by the Telecommunications Authority (ARTPC), which enjoys administrative and financial autonomy.
Skepticism For him, this is not a tax but an income derived from a law. The decision on whether or not this invoicing must be maintained must be made by the Council of Ministers. He also said he was in favor of a parliamentary inquiry into the management of the $ 25 million (almost € 22 million) already raised. For the opposition’s deputy Jean-Baptiste Kasekwa, the National Assembly’s office and the minister are playing the bell. “I regret to note again the attitude of national deputies who forbid the exercise of sanctions,” he stressed. “The minister should be sanctioned.” I’m still skeptical of the attitude of the church president. This idea of a commission of inquiry is a way to dismiss the file and I’m disappointed. “
Claude Misare, author of the minister’s interpellation in the congregation, also expressed his disappointment. He says he is concerned about the opacity of funds taken from unwilling donors. More than 80 million dollars (69 million euros) have not been traced, according to his estimates.
“The people are not alone” The pro-Kabila Joint Front for Congo (FCC) deputies had already initiated a no-confidence motion against the minister, but it was rejected. They left the plenum in anger. Gathered around their spokesperson Didi Manara, they threaten. “We, the FCC’s national deputies behind his moral authority, Joseph Kabila, say the people are not alone. We, the FCC, are with you. That’s why we emptied this room because we will not participate in this black mass, he explained. The holy union is not with the people. We are in high gear. We will now start collecting signatures for a no-confidence motion against the entire Sama Lukonde government and we will receive it shortly. We will certainly not accept that this population is exposed in this way. “
In an attempt to calm the situation, the prime minister took part in a tense consultation with coalition deputies on Monday, October 11, in order to gain the majority’s support in this matter, but the meeting ended without compromise.