The Zambian government will introduce a tax on internet phone calls in a bid to protect the traditional service providers.
Information Minister Dora Siliya on Monday said the cabinet had approved an executive order that would see the introduction of a 30 ngwee (0.3 kwacha; $0.03) daily tariff charged on online phone calls.
“Cabinet has noted that there is an increase in the use of internet phone calls at the expense of traditional phone calls and this threatens the telecommunications industry and jobs in companies such as Zamtel, Bharti Airtel and MTN Zambia,” said Ms Siliya.
She said the levy will be charged through telecom operators and internet providers.
Ms Siliya added that about 80 per cent of Zambians are using WhatsApp, Skype and Viber to make phone calls.
The cabinet also approved the proposal to introduce tough new cybercrime laws to regulate social media use, curb hate speech, fight cyber-crime and pornography.
But the opposition has expressed concerns that the intent is to clampdown on social media.