Telecom consumers to head for Court over 5% tax

Abuja—Telecommunication subscribers, under the aegis of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, have vowed to challenge the legitimacy of the proposed five percent excise duty on telecoms services in court, the Punch reports.

The association said the excise duty on telecom services, which would translate to an extra five percent consumption tax on calls, SMS, data, and other telecom services, was insensitive and draconian.

They added that the proposed tax would further impoverish consumers whose purchasing power had been weakened in recent times.

The President of the association, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, stated this to Punch while commenting on the recent allegation by the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami was well aware of the inclusion of the five percent excise duty on telecoms services.

Isa Pantami speaking at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo, had denied being duly consulted about the new proposed telecom tax by the finance ministry.

“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.”

Responding to the communication minister, the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning said, “Against the comments by Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, concerning the five percent 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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