Monday, June 20, 2005

SIM cards become top priority!

The influential Centre for Policy and Dialogue (CPD) held a roundtable meeting of economists, Finance Minister and his colleagues and the obligatory donors.
They were there to discuss the budget.
Of all the quotes, the one by World Bank, Country Director, Christine Wallich is galling. She criticised the tax of SIM cards and how that would reduce "development" in the telecom sector.
So that lobbying by the four mobile operators in visiting her has worked. She has weighed in to represent the case of private companies.
It seems the rate at how mobiles are sold is really a "development" issue in one of the poorest countries of the world.
I was wrong. Big boys should cry. As long it is to the World Bank.
The mobile operators are not mentioning the smuggling of handsets into the country. They are therefore complicit in this as they benefit from cheaper handsets attracting buyers.
The finance Minister must think the world is going mad.
PS there may be something afoot as the big business houses all roundly criticise the budget.... Strange since they seem to have got what they wanted...... The budget may turn out to be more "political" than he realised.

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