The move by the federal government through the Ministry of Finance to impose a 5 percent excise duty on telecommunications services has been suspended, a statement issued and signed by Mr. Reuben Mouka, Director of Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission has disclosed.
The statement quoted the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to have announced the suspension of the 5 percent excise duty, which many industry watchers and analysts described as an attempt to erase the gain of the telecom sector, which is already being depressed as a result of multiple taxations.
“The Federal Government has announced the suspension of the proposed 5 percent Excise Duty on telecommunications services, and inaugurated a committee chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, to review the policy, immediately,” the statement announced.
It added that Pantami, who inaugurated the Committee, which he chairs on the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed as a member, said the decision on the suspended policy will be made after the committee completes its report.
The suspension directed by Mr. President, followed his petition as the Chairman of the Presidential Council on Digital Economy and eGovernment, as the policy has the potential to impact very negatively on the digital economy sector, and particularly, telecommunications, which is already overburdened with a plethora of taxes totaling about 41 categories.
According to Pantami, some of these are multiple taxations because other tiers or levels of government were imposing the same levies that MNOs had already paid to the Federal Government.
“Excessive taxation has been a central challenge of the Information and Communications Technology sector”, he said, arguing that it is unfair to overburden such a sector that is so central to the nation’s growth and development and especially because the sector rarely receives subsidy which other sectors have enjoyed,” he said.
Other members of the committee inaugurated by Pantami, include the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta; the Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Muhammad Nami; and the representatives of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).