Antigua minister says telecoms tax will have limited consumer impact

16 February 2016 |

Antigua’s telecoms minister Melford Nicholas has assured the country that a 3% tax on telcos would have a limited effect on consumers as it does not raise the spending of service providers.

Nicholas announced the government’s plan to impose up to 3% tax on the gross revenues of all the telcos under the mandate of the impending telecoms legislation, as part of Antigua’s 2016 budget debate.

“The fact of the matter is that this new licencing fee does not put either of the two carriers in a distinct disadvantage to where they are at the moment,” said the telecoms minister. 

“I think if the accountants at C&W were to look at the calculations, they would see that now that the figure would be normalised; it would be probably less for them,” he added. 

The bill, which will come into effect under a newly introduced Universal Service Fund, is aimed at levelling the varying licence fees paid by the providers. C&W presently pays 7% of its revenues to APUA as a royalty while Digicel pays 3%. 

“The licence fees in the proposed telecoms bill would be 3% of the turnover; the fee that we would use for the Universal Service Fund is 1%,” explains the minister.