Telecom Consumers Head To Court For 5% Tax Increase

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Telecommunications subscribers, united under the banner of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATS), have committed to taking the proposed 5% excise levy on telecom services to court.

They argue that the excise charge on telecom services, which would amount to an additional 5% consumption tax on calls, SMS, data, and other telecom services, is callous and would further poor customers whose purchasing power has already been undermined.

Adeolu Ogunbanjo, President of the Association, revealed this to our correspondent while commenting on the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning’s recent allegation that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy was well aware of the inclusion of the 5% excise duty on telecoms services.

Speaking at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo, Isa Pantami said, “The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is not satisfied with any effort to introduce excise duty on telecommunication services.

“Firstly, I have not been consulted officially and part of the rulemaking is to invite stakeholders to make contributions, I was not consulted officially. Secondly, if we have been contacted, we would have challenged the submission.”

Replying to the allegation, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning said, “Against the comments by Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, concerning the five per cent excise duty hike on telecoms services, it is worth noting that there was a circular stating the planned hike which was addressed to the communication minister and other relevant ministries and agencies of government.”

Commenting on this, Ogunbanjo said, “The Minister of Finance is insisting on implementing the excise tax. This shows insensitivity, particularly when the substantive minister of the affected sector is pushing back.”

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