Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari regime’s plans to levy a five per cent excise duty on all telecommunications services, including calls, SMS, and data services, a move that will further compound Nigerians’ hardships.
Mr Pantami made his stance known on Monday while speaking at the ongoing maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE) organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission in Lagos.
“We will definitely challenge the decision. There are about seven sectors of Nigeria’s economy contributing largely, and these sectors are less than two per cent of Nigeria’s economic sector. ICT contributes more than other sectors, and it should be encouraged, while those sectors contributing less to GDP should be monitored properly and ensure they do more,” the minister argued. “If we fail to do this, we will continue to increase and increase tax by the day.”
He further pointed out that “you introduce excise duty maybe to discourage the consumption of certain products like alcohol, like tobacco and many pieces where you didn’t produce it.”
Mr Pantami added, “How can you do financial services in Nigeria without broadband? How can we communicate with ourselves? How can you, we, a hospital without Internet?”
Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed shared the worrying news at a stakeholders’ forum organised by the NCC in Abuja on Thursday. She said the decision was motivated by Mr Buhari regime’s desperation to augment declining income from oil and gas.
“The issue of revenue is not something that needs to be shied away from. Our revenue can no longer take care of our needs as a country,” Ms Ahmed asserted. “Also, Nigeria is no longer making enough money in oil revenue; hence the attention is shifting to non-oil revenue.”
Source: Peoples Gazette.