Telecoms users breathe easy as FG suspends 5% excise duty

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

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, September 5, in Abuja.

The government gave 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 telecoms 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 is constituted to look into the matter carefully and advise him accordingly.

“The president has appointed 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.

“Of recent, it was announced that some of our respected brothers and sisters kick-started the process of introducing excise duty in the telecoms sector.

“Based on the constitution and is the representative of Buhari in the sector, I rejected that wholeheartedly.

“I formalised my position and explained to him in a letter that could be referred to as a petition because excise duty was usually fixed on luxury products

“I told the president in a 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, he said in spite of the achievements of the sector, it also had its challenges, which could be a barrier to its development in the next few years to come.

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

“Besides, these taxes are multiple taxes. The same taxes being collected at the federal level is also what the states are insisting be paid to them.

“If care is not taken, this is what will jeopardise the achiev

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