Pantami Rejects Implementation of 5% Excise Duty in Telecoms Sector
The minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami, has kicked against the federal government’s plan to implement a five percent excise duty on telecommunication services in Nigeria.
He made this known in Lagos at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE).
The Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) organised the event.
Last week, Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, announced the new policy at a stakeholders’ forum in Abuja.
Telecommunications consumers are expected to bear the tax burden.
Speaking on the development, Pantami criticised the timing and process of imposing the tax on the telecoms sector despite its contributions to the economy.
He further advised the government to widen its tax net to other sectors that are not contributing to national development as much as the telecoms sector.
“I have not been contacted officially. If we are, we surely will state our case. The sector that contributes to the economy should be encouraged,” Pantami said.
“You introduce excise duty to discourage luxury goods like alcohol. Broadband is a necessity.
“If you look at it carefully the sector contributes two per cent excise duty, 7.5 percent VAT to the economy and you want to add more.
“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.”
According to him, additional taxes on the telecoms sector will affect its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The Minister added, “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”.
“That is what the constitution says. At least, I am a major stakeholder. When the 7.5 percent VAT was added, I was not consulted, I only heard the announcement.
“And I think there is something questionable, and I am glad that we are on the same page with our national assembly members here, they were not consulted, and they are part of the committees.
“Beyond making our position known, we will go behind the scenes and go against any policy that will destroy the digital economy sector. We will go to any extent to legitimately and legally defend its interest.”