FG Suspends 5% Excise Duty On Telecommunication 

The Federal Government has yesterday canceled the five percent excise duty on telecommunication services recently announced by the Ministry of Finance.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami announced the  suspension during the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Committee on Excise Duty for the Digital Economy Sector in Abuja.

According to Pantami, the sector was already overtaxed on numerous fronts and didn’t require more.

He added that he appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari over the long-term effect of the tax if permitted to stay and received his approval to suspend the tax.

Also, Pantami was permitted to organize a committee that will monitor the tax critically and make recommendations.

The committee includes: Pantami Chairman, the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and the Representatives of all the telecom companies in Nigeria are members.

In his words: “It is because of my intervention that the President granted my prayers. He not only granted immediate suspension of the excise duty in the digital economy sector but also approved that a committee is constituted to look into the matter carefully and advise accordingly.

“The president has appointed me to be his eyes and ears in the sector and it is my responsibility to ensure we are just and fair to the operators, government, and most importantly our people that are the consumers,” the minister added.

Nexus News recalls that the Ministry of Finance and recently announced plans to implement a proposed five percent exercise duties on telecommunication services in 2023.

However, Pantami countered the move, arguing that it will heighten the cost of telecommunication services, impoverish Nigerians.

Similarly, telecom operators under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators in Nigeria, ALTON reacted at the proposed tax, groaning that it will hamper the growth of telecom  and impose excessive pressure on subscribers’ ability to use telecom services.

Reacting to the news of the suspension, Chairman ALTON, Engr Gbenga Adebayo said it was a triumph for the subscribers.

“The news of the suspension is well received. It shows that the government is listening to the complaints of the people and is always ready to do everything to increase penetration. If the tax continued, the burden will be passed on to the subscribers and that would have put untold hardship on them. It is a victory for them. I want the government to listen more and take decisions that will improve our quest to be a digital economy. More of these types of decisions will show Nigeria is ready to use ICT to build the economy” he said.

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