Center urges FG to suspend planned increase in excise duty on telecom services – The Sun Nigeria

The Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), an NGO, urged the federal government to suspend the planned 5.5% increase in services in the telecommunications sector.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, at a stakeholder forum, hinted at the ministry’s plan, aimed at increasing the rights excise duty on telecommunications services from the current 5.5% on the principle of generating revenue. .

However, the Executive Director of NITAD, Prof. Yahuza Zakari Ya’u while briefing reporters in Kano said the increase will bring hardship to Nigerians.

ZakariYa’u therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to drop the proposed increase.

He further called on President Buhari to put in place the process of developing a national policy on community networks, so that communities can address issues related to their community infrastructure.

“We find this unacceptable as it will not only create more hardship for Nigerians but will also more fundamentally undermine the country’s economic recovery.

“The effect of the proposed increase is to make calls and data more expensive in the context where already Nigeriens are paying heavily for it.

“Nigeria is one of the countries with a low affordability index as calculated by the Alliance for Affordable Internet,” ZakariYa’u said.

The Director also observed that at present, only less than 45% of Nigerians have access to all telecommunication services, with several others unable to afford both the cost of access and the cost of use.

“This means that more than half of Nigerians are unable to do so for several reasons, the main one being their inability to pay both the cost of access and the cost of use. Nigeria does not manufacture telecommunications equipment and devices, so it can hardly

ZakariYa’u said Nigeria must increase its broadband penetration to 95% by 2030 and achieve 95% digital literacy by 2025.

NAN reports that the Minister of Finance has said that the Federal Government will generate about N160.46 billion from excise duty on telecom services in 2023.

According to the Nigerian Communications Commission, the combined operator revenues of GSM, landline and internet service providers were N3.21 billion in 2021.

If the government implements its 5% excise duty on telecom services, it will generate around N160.46 billion.

NAN also reports that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, has opposed the new attempt to add a 5% excise duty on telecommunications services.

When implemented, Pantami said, this will bring the total tax telecom consumers pay for telecom services to 12.5%.

He said the telecommunications sector already contributes a lot to the Nigerian economy and the addition of new taxes could have a negative impact on its growth.

Pantami urged the government to consider taxing other sectors of the economy that do not contribute to national development. (NOPE)

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