Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami, has rejected the imposition of five per cent tax on the telecom sector saying the tax will cause more burden on Nigerian tax payers.
Speaking yesterday, at the maiden edition of Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NITCE 2022) organised by the Nigeria Office for Developing the Indigenous Telecom Sector (NODITS), an agency domiciled in the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).
The Minister said, If you look carefully, the Communications and Digital Economy sector contributes two per cent excise duty, 7.5 per cent VAT (value added tax) to the economy, yet you want to increase the tax. In his view, bringing hardship to the people at this time cannot be tolerated.
He urged the tax masters to expand the scope of other sectors that are not contributing to the economy to do so instead of overtaxing the only sector that is fast becoming the cash cow of the national economy.
Pantami further, urged Nigerians to ask the various security agencies why, in spite of the strict regulations around subscriber identity module (SIM) card registration and mandatory linkage of same with the National Identity Number (NIN), people are still being kidnapped and ransom payment negotiated through the mobile phone while banditry, insurgency continues to grow at an alarming rate.
Faulting the timing and process of imposing the tax on the industry, the Minister, argued that part of the responsibility of a responsive governments is not to increase the burdens on the neck of the citizens. He said he is therefore not in support of the excise duty.
“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.