Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has described the planned implementation of 5% excise duty on telecommunications services in Nigeria as antithetical to the industry’s growth.
The Minster of Finance, Budget and National planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed while speaking at a telecom stakeholders’ forum organised by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) argued the federal government’s plan for implementation of the 5% excise duty arise due to government’s need to generate more to sustain the economy away from the oil sector.
Taking a swipe at the recent efforts to impose five per cent excise duty on telecommunications services, Pantami revealed that the Ministry, which oversees the industry, was not consulted.
The Minister also emphasised that efforts had been put in place towards the protection of the telecom industry, which contributes impressively to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to the tune of 17%, adding that it would be unfair to impose such tax on the industry.
“I was not consulted before the decision on five per cent excise duty was reached, and it was unfair to impose such a tax on an industry that was already burdened with other taxes and already contributing about 17 per cent to the country’s revenue,” he said.
Pantami told his audience, including the Chairman of the House Committee on Telecommunications, Hon. Akeem Adeniyi Adeyemi, that his position was already shared by the National Assembly which was also not consulted on the issue before it was announced.
“We must do what we need to do to protect the industry. Beyond making our opinions known, we will take legitimate and legal steps to stop any plan against the interest of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry,” he said.
Pantami, who spoke at the first Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE), 2022 held at the Landmark Centre in Lagos, reaffirmed the Federal Government’s determination to reverse the trend of importation of all types of telecommunications products, especially where production in Nigeria is possible.
Commending the Minister for his support, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, told the audience that the Minister’s efforts and support have spurred the Commission to take immediate results that were being showcased at the expo.
The expo was oragnised as part of effort to vigorously pursue the objectives of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector (NPPIC), through the National Office for Developing Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) domiciled in the NCC.
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