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The Wireless Application Services Providers’ Association (WASPA) has called on the government to stop charging import duties on smartphones, saying that they aren’t a luxury.
The association said that mobile use needs to be encouraged, because of the relationship between mobile data usage and GDP growth.
It cited a GSMA study, which found that doubling mobile data usage resulted in the GDP growing by 0.5%.
“Unfortunately, while cellphone handsets enable this GDP-boosting data usage, smartphones attract ad valorem duty, plus 14% VAT, when imported into the country,” WASPA explained in a statement.
“WASPA believes that a luxury item is not something that has become the first permanent address for millions, enabling them to be included in the wider economy for the first time as job seekers, grant recipients and more.”
The watchdog cited three big reasons why mobile data usage was good for economies.
“Mobile technology enables greater efficiencies. Essentially, more can be achieved using the same time and resources. Mobile also sparks layers of creativity that see greater human ingenuity with each successive technological advance. Finally, mobile encourages consumption which, in a retail-led economy such as ours, keeps cash registers full and employment positions filled.”
The association also said that basic rights (such as access to information, freedom of expression/association) are enhanced by mobile devices.