Tanzania Minister of Information, Communication, and Information Technology, Nape Nnauye said that Starlink is required to set a physical office in the country as well as share its data protection plan before receiving an operational approvals.
Mr Nnauye was speaking during an interview with a Tanzania newspaper, Nipashe, “Elon Musk wants to provide internet service here using Satelite but they [Stalink] did not have the plan to set up an office here” explained Nape in a shared video which has generated a heated debate on social media.
“If there is any fault would the Tanzania customer call the office in the US to ask for assistance?” asked Nape as he was explaining why it is important for Stalink to have a physical office. In addition, the Minister explained that there was no data protection plan in the Starlink application, “these providers collect a lot of information we must know where the data is going,” emphasized Mr. Nnauye.
Starlink has been a trending topic in Tanzania since February 05, 2023, when Elon Musk said that they were waiting for the Tanzania government’s approval to launch Stalink in the country.
Speaking about the entry of Starlink in the country one official from Vodacom, a mobile network with the largest market share was quoted saying that Starlink’s entry in Tanzania is not a threat but an opportunity for partnership, this was with anticipation that Starlink will need to have a local partner for operation.
In Africa, Starlink is operational in Rwanda, Nigeria, Mayotte, and Reunion islands and has so far has received approvals to operate in Malawi and Mozambique. In 2023, Starlink has projected to start operation in several African countries including Kenya, Zambia, DRC Congo, Angola among others.
Responding to users on social media, Mr. Nnauye explained that this is the requirement of the law and insisted that if Starlink is facing any challenges in meeting the requirement they should inform Tanzania government.
If you listen to my interview which is there very clear,did I say they have refused?? I SAID WE TOLD THEM TO ADHERE TO WHAT THE LAW OF THE LAND STATES AND I BELIEVE THEY ARE INTHE PROCESS AS SEVERAL MEETINGS AND CONSULTATIONS ARE GOING ON AND WE ARE ON IT WHENEVER THEY ARE READY
— Nape Moses Nnauye (@Nnauye_Nape) February 28, 2023
Lately, Tanzania’s tax laws have recognized electronic services companies without a physical presence in the country. In the Finance Act, 2022, which introduced digital tax, companies providing various electronic services in Tanzania but without a physical office can now register and pay tax.