FG suspends 5% duty on telecom services

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The Federal Government has suspended the planned implementation of the 5 per cent excise duty charge earlier proposed on telecom facilities in the country.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, disclosed this when he inaugurated a committee to review the 5 per cent exercise duty, on Monday in Abuja.

The government had given a hint on July 28, that the five per cent would be added to the already existing 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on telecommunications services.

Speaking during the inauguration of the committee, Pantami said that President Muhammadu Buhari granted his prayer for the immediate suspension of the 5 per cent excise duty.

Pantami said : “It is because of this that the president had granted my prayers. He approved that a committee be constituted to look into the matter carefully and advise him accordingly.

“The president has appointment me to be his eyes and ears in the sector. It is my responsibility to ensure we are just and fair to the operators, government and most importantly the consumers.”

The minister, who serves as the Committee’s Chairman further told the members how he explained to the president the effect of the excise duty on the sector.

“I told the president in a the letter that if care is not taken, that attempt will destroy the digital economy sector that is becoming the backbone of our economy,” he said.

On why he kicked against the excise duty, Pantami said the ICT sector was over burdened with as many challenges that could frustrate its development in the next few years.

 “As of today, the ICT sector is over burdened by so many categories of taxes to the extend that there are 41 categories of taxes at the federal and state level, particularly in the telecom sector.

“The Mobile Network Operators have been coming to us to allow them increase prices of their products, but I have been encouraging them to be patient.

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Pantami named members of the committee to include the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS),

Others are Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Representative of all Telecom companies in Nigeria.

Meanwhile telecommunications companies on the aeiges of National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) have rescinded their plan to sue the Federal Government following the suspension of the 5 per cent excise duty in its efforts to increase revenue from non-oil sectors.

“The President has appointed me to be his eyes and ears in the sector and it is my responsibility to ensure we are just and fair to the operators, government and most importantly our people that are the consumers” Pantami stated.

Reacting to the development, Deolu Ogunbanjo, President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) said it was most soothing. “It is a welcome development. We were already preparing our court case. We were going to court because there were already 39 taxes.

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