Published On: Thu, Jan 12th, 2017

Wait till I finish my leave, Minister tell Zimbabweans

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By Daniel Chigundu

ICT and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has told Zimbabwean to continue suffering until he returns from leave to solve the data bundles saga.

Mobile telecommunication subscribers woke up to the news of steep increase in broadband tariffs owing to a directive by the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz).

Potraz which is the telecoms regulator in the country directed mobile telecommunication service providers to set new floor prices for voice and mobile data bundles.

The regulator’s directive was that all voice calls should cost at least 12 cents per minute and all data bundles should be priced at a minimum of 2 cents per megabyte (MB).

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is the first service provider to implement the directive and it has been met with panic and anger from subscribers, some of whom were seen queuing at various NetOne outlets buying sim-cards and One Fusion recharge cards.

Responding to angry Zimbabwean on his twitter account, Minister Mandiwanzira said we will only deal with the matter when comes back from leave.

“Seen your questions, I’m on leave until Jan 30 and out of the country since Boxing Day. On return to work, I will get to the bottom of it,” said the ICT Minister.

Zimbabweans from across all walks of life are united against the new pricing regime arguing that they were never consulted by the regulator.

However Potraz Director General, Gift Machengete, was quoted in the media to have admitted that subscribers weren’t consulted since the considerations which were made were for the costs of service provision which are relevant to service providers only.

Machengete is reported to have said the country’s three mobile network operators (Econet, NetOne and Telecel) were consulted and they had in fact proposed floor prices of between 1 cent and 5 cents per megabyte, which would have resulted in an even higher tariff increase.

The new tariff regime will greatly affect the use of such popular social media as WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook which were proving to be popular in the country.

However another school of thought is saying the new pricing regime is meant to prohibit Zimbabwean from using the social media to further Hashtag movements which have given government a torrid time.-