Nigerian Minister Rejects New Call and Data Taxes

Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy

In Nigeria, Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has declared his opposition to the Federal Government’s plans to impose a 5% excise fee on telecommunication services.

He believed the action would have a bad effect on the industry and Nigerians.

He adds that the telecom industry already makes a significant economic contribution to Nigeria and encouraged the government to take into account taxing other economic sectors that did not advance the country.

At a stakeholders’ forum on the application of excise duty on telecommunications services in Nigeria, the Federal Government recently revealed plans to impose a 5% excise duty tax on telecoms services.

According to Pantami, “Any attempt to impose an excise duty on telecommunication services is not met with satisfaction by the ministry of communications and the digital economy.

“First of all, I was not formally consulted, and part of the rulemaking process includes inviting stakeholders to submit comments. Second, we would have contested the submission if we had been contacted.

“The sectors that are contributing to our economy today are few. What we should be doing is to ensure that all other sectors can also contribute. A lot of sectors are consumers, these are the sectors that we should be tasked to contribute.

“Today, a sector cannot be a consumer; each sector must make a specific amount of economic contributions. And if we don’t do it, the pressure will increase and we’ll end up eliminating the digital economy sector.

Excise duty was instituted to deter consumers from consuming specific products, such as alcohol and tobacco. Today, however, broadband penetration is necessary since without it, it is impossible to conduct financial transactions, give lectures, or operate in a hospital.

According to him, telecom companies contribute 2 per cent excise duty to the NCC already. He stated that telecom consumers also pay 7.5 per cent for consuming telecom services.

He said the timing was wrong and any extra hardship on citizens won’t be tolerated. He explained that the government must extend its net to other sectors as it hopes to increase revenue because the telecom industry is already doing enough and will only crash if any further taxes are added.

Pantami concluded, “We will make further steps to fight it. As a minister, based on the provision of the constitution of Nigeria, section 148, we are exercising the powers of Mr president.

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