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Less than a year after passing the controversial Bill for telephone users in Liberia to pay tariffs on calls, members of the House of Representatives have unanimously voted to repeal such law.

Defending the communication sent to plenary to repeal the law, the chairman of the House’s committee on posts and telecommunications, Grand Kru County Representative Numene T. H. Bartekwa disclosed that the decision to repeal the law was supported by everyone including ordinary Liberians home and abroad.
According to the Grand Kru County lawmaker, the only thing that couldn’t be compromised was the General Services Tax (GST) which was raised from 15% to 20%.
“Our people have asked to repeal the one cent tax,” he said.
It can be recalled that the decision to impose a one cent tax on all phone calls in the country was based on a report from the joint committee on ways, means, finance and development planning and judiciary.
This tax regime as approved by the House at that time placed what Liberians and economists called ‘new tax burdens’ in the area of communication as well as goods and other services.
The law now being repealed by the House was an amendment to existing tax laws under the Liberia Revenue Code (LRC) subjecting callers and customers to paying one cent per minute on each call.
This law which many Liberians from the inception described as ‘wicked’ was demanding the two GSM providers, Lonestar and Cellcom to make adjustments to some programs being provided such as 'the three days of free calls.
However, some lawmakers from the onset angrily reacted to the one cent (US$0.1) per minute on calls law which was contained in the committees' report. Before the passage of the Bill, opponents called for its removal from the amendment list, as it is totally against the will of the Liberian people.
The suggestion to remove it was challenged by other lawmakers who favored the committees' report including members of the committee.
It can be educed that the imposition of excise of $0.01 per minute on phone calls was proposed by the President to support the 2016/2017 fiscal budget.
The move, according to the executive, was necessary to address the anticipated shortfalls in revenue to service the new budget.
In 2016, the fifth and sixth International Monetary Fund Review Mission states that, despite the “successful elimination of the Ebola virus disease, the Liberian economy was still not recovering.
GDP in 2016 projected to contract by 0.5 percent, mainly due to continued weakness of commodity exports, including lower-than-expected gold production, and the impact of the United Nations Mission to Liberia (UNMIL) withdrawal.
However, defending the report, head of the joint committees, Rep. Prince Moye (Bong County) at that time explained how they met with executives of the GSM companies, officials of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), officials of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), officials of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, civil society organizations.
But responding to the Tuesday May 16, 2017 communication which calls for the repeal of the law, Representative Prince Moye of Bong County and chairman of the House’s committee on ways, means, finance and development planning said this wouldn’t affect the state.
After deliberations in session, 26 lawmakers voted for the law to be repealed, none against and one abstention.

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