Kenya’s integrated telecommunications firm Safaricom has been confirmed as the country’s top taxpaying company for the fifth year running in the annual awards for top taxpayers from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
Safaricom was among ten top companies that in total contributed KSh115 billion (US$1.3 billion) to the exchequer, making up 17 percent of the total tax collected.
Safaricom still holds the lion’s share of the market at 64 percent, according to the latest statistics. Non-voice products such as M-Pesa, SMS and broadband earn the company 27 percent of its revenue, which the financial report for the year 2011/2012 showed totalled KSh107 billion (US$1.2 billion).
During the release of the report, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said: “Safaricom operates in an increasingly tough environment characterised by low voice tariffs, intense inflationary pressure, high borrowing costs and foreign exchange fluctuations.”
This trend of being the highest taxpayer is one that is set to continue should the government go ahead with plans to tax mobile money transactions to raise more money for the revenue authority.
With the occurrence of workers in various sectors taking to the streets to demand more pay, the government had to look for ways to raise the deficit to cater for doctors and teachers and one way that was proposed was to impose a tax on mobile payments.
Before this was revealed, Airtel had announced that they would make mobile money transfers free for customers.
This move was yesterday criticised by the Finance Minister Njeru Githae, who stated that the government would be forced to set a blanket minimum transaction fee on mobile money transactions.
The issue of mobile termination rates (MTR) still hangs in the balance. A lower MTR would be a good thing for the customer, although it could see revenues for the telecommunications sector dwindle.