YANGON, Myanmar - The cost of using telecoms services in Myanmar is poised to rise after the military junta approved a 20,000 kyat (USD 11.3) commercial tax on SIM card sales and a 15% tax on internet companies' earnings.
According to a statement published in the military's Global New Light of Myanmar on Thursday, the junta claimed that most other developing countries levy such taxes. It claimed that doing so would reduce the "effects triggered by extreme use of internet services on people's employment and mental sufferings of new generation students."
According to the Kyaukse University Student Union leader, the junta's justification for the new levy is "a very senseless and desperate excuse."
"They don't have any budget left, so they're all out of options," he said. "They said they're worried about students, but us students hate their entire existence."
Commercial service taxes are generally levied at 5%. Therefore the new 15% levy for internet providers is significantly higher than the national average.
According to one internet user, the charge is an attempt by the military to tighten control over the flow of information online.