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INCM Accepts Government Order and Suspends New Communications Tariffs

INCM Accepts Government Order and Suspends New Communications Tariffs

Mozambique’s National Communications Institute (INCM) announced on Tuesday (4) the suspension of the resolution that set minimum limits for telecoms tariffs, following a government directive. According to the Lusa news agency, the INCM will carry out ‘additional studies’ before implementing new measures.

The decision comes after strong social protest against the resolution that set new minimum limits for telecoms tariffs. According to an INCM statement quoted by Lusa, ‘additional studies are being carried out in coordination with the telephone operators, with the aim of meeting the recommendations of the Council of Ministers’.

On 28 May, the Council of Ministers recommended that the INCM suspend the decision that led to the increase in tariffs, with the aim of applying prices adjusted to the market.

‘The regulator is suspending the measure while it improves its studies so that we can make decisions that are more in line with market demands and public interests,’ said Amilton Alissene, Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications, at a press conference after the weekly session of the Council of Ministers.

‘We will return to the previous situation as far as fares are concerned, while the regulator improves the studies. That’s the recommendation the government is leaving the regulator,’ he added. Amilton Alissene also mentioned that a market assessment will be carried out by the INCM in collaboration with the operators.

The controversy began on 19 February, when the INCM published a resolution establishing new minimum tariffs for telecommunications services, including voice, messaging and data. The implementation of these tariffs by the three operators since 4 May has resulted in real increases in tariffs and the end of unlimited packages.

On 18 May, hundreds of young Mozambicans marched in Maputo against the measure, claiming that it limited access to information and promising to go to court, saying that the decision lacked legal support.

‘It’s a political measure to silence Mozambicans,’ said Quitéria Guirengane, an activist who led the group that met with the INCM, demanding that the studies on which the measure was based be made public.

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‘We want to demand the total repeal of the resolution approving these tariffs, which are completely insensitive, immoral, anti-competitive, inhumane, unsustainable and disproportionate, because they seriously violate our fundamental rights, such as the right of access to information, the right to education, to work, to identity, enshrined in the Constitution,’ the activist added during the march.

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