Finance Act 2023: M-Pesa charges go up as calls, SMS and data rates decrease

A Safaricom M-Pesa agent in Nairobi. [File, Standard]

Safaricom has revised charges for M-Pesa transactions, SMS, call, and data following the Court of Appeal's decision to lift orders suspending the implementation of the Finance Act, 2023.

In a circular on Saturday, the telecommunications firm said the changes are effective beginning July 29, in line with the new excise duty rates in the Finance Act.

"Effective July 29, 2023, we will be reviewing our call, SMS, data, home fiber, and M-Pesa pricing to reflect the increase in the excise duty rate on fees charged on mobile money transfer services from 12 per cent to 15 per cent," announced Safaricom.

In the changes, mobile money transfer charges have gone up with an increase of three per cent, while charges on calls, SMS, data, and home fiber will decrease by five per cent (from 20 per cent to 15 per cent).

The changes in mobile money services are just some of the costs taxpayers will incur following the Court's decision on Friday.

Other taxes Kenyans will be liable for include the 1.5 per cent housing levy, and the 16 per cent VAT on fuel.

Earners of Sh500,000 and above will be charged a 32.5 per cent tax for income up to Sh800,000.

Digital content creators will also pay a five per cent withholding tax.

Appellate Court on Friday temporarily lifted orders freezing the implementation of the controversial Finance Act, 2023.

The orders issued by Justices Mohamed Warsame, Kathurima M'Inoti, and Hellen Omondi in effect handed Kenyans to the Kenya Kwanza administration by allowing implementation of the punitive law for the next two months.

Some changes are effective immediately and some taxes will be introduced periodically.