Airtel increases airtime cost after Uhuru assents 2021 Finance Act into law

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 2 Jul, 2021 11:08 | < 1 min read
Airtel Kenya shop.Photo/File

Subscribers of Airtel Kenya will be forced to dig deeper into their pockets in order to afford airtime for their mobile phones and internet.

This is after the telco increased its call rate following the signing into law of the 2021 Finance bill by President Uhuru Kenyatta. 

“Dear customer due to an increase in Excise Duty from 15% to 20% from 2nd July, your call rate is now Ksh 4.5 per minute. SMS and Data rates remain the same.- Airtel,” the telco said in a text message to its subscribers. 

MPs through the departmental committee on finance and national planning proposed to increase the rate of excise duty on telephone and internet data services from 15 per cent to 20 per cent. 

An increase at the rate of the excise duty will see the tax man collect more than Ksh8 billion from Safaricom, Airtel and Telcom which are Kenya’s leading telcos. 

When government increased the excise duty by 5 per cent the telcos also increased the cost of services to factor in taxes. 

Safaricom increased her calls rate by 30 cents and SMS by 10 cents. 

Zuku increased the cost of its 10mbps package to Sh3,999 from Sh3,500 while those who were paying for the Sh4,198 package had to part with Sh4,598.

On the other hand Kenyans will have to part with more than Ksh300 to purchase cooking gas after a 16 per cent increase in Value Added Tax. 

Those seeking loans were also not spared as government increased the excise duty on bank loan fees. 

Lenders in turn might transfer the cost to borrowers making access to credit for homes difficult.