With all that has been discussed on the merits and demerits of taxing social media and mobile money, the Legislative and Executive arms of government have promised reviews on the level of tax and its justification.
Experts though need to consider and evaluate the trauma that the sudden introduction of the taxes has visited on the population.
Sectors such as mobile money transfer are likely to suffer from the aftershocks of the tax quake long after a resolution is reached on the taxes.
How will the telecoms or the government for that matter build confidence among the populace to resume transacting by mobile money? What if by then the people have found alternatives? Consumer fear is real, especially where technology is concerned.
There are many who had started to embrace the notion of using the smartphone and communicating via social media. The adjustment to new taxes is likely to set the economy back many steps, not just in monetary terms but also psychologically.
As the authorities move to address the concern over the nature of tax and its amount, experts should take the time to study the effects of these levies. The success or failure of future monetary systems or initiatives could be dependent on the reactions now.
This is also an opportunity for government to come face-to-face with the grievances of the people, which have come pouring out with the complaints on tax. It is a golden chance for the establishment to study and refine any monetary and fiscal plans due for implementation to align with the needs and abilities of the people.
Instead of concentrating efforts on contradictions and denials over what did or did not happen with the new taxes, this is the time for the government machinery to do serious analysis and prepare a mop-up campaign in order to reap from the bag of mixed fortunes which they were handed after the introduction of social media and mobile money tax.
Many have called for accountability regarding the taxes collected. It would serve the government well to demonstrate goodwill now by offering an explanation of some kind as to where the collected taxes go. This could facilitate easier implementation and less resistance to future taxes.
As debate continues over what tax and how much, the storm is by no means over. Much work remains to be done by the powers that be to turn this situation around for good.