Buhari's ministers fight over 5% call, data tax
FG targets N160bn from call, data taxes as opposition against levies mounts

The Federal Government will generate about N160.46bn from excise duty on telecommunication services in 2023.

According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the combined revenue of operators in the GSM, Fixed Wired, and Internet Service Providers was N3.21tn in 2021.

The commission further stated that if the government implements its five per cent excise duty on telecom services, it will generate about N160.46bn.

The amount, however, assumes that the revenue of the telcos would be static. But in real terms, it could either be higher or lower depending on economic fundamentals in 2022.

The Federal Government had recently disclosed its plan to implement a 5 per cent excise duty on telecom services in the nation.

This was revealed by the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, during a stakeholders’ forum on the implementation of excise duty on telecommunications services in Nigeria.

Ahmed, who spoke through the Assistant Chief Officer of the Ministry, Mr Frank Oshanipin, said the implementation of the excise duty was in a bid to increase the government’s revenue.

“The duty rate was not captured in the Act because it is the responsibility of the President to fix rate on excise duties and he has fixed five per cent for telecommunication services which include GSM.

“It is public knowledge that our revenue cannot run our financial obligations, so we are to shift our attention to non-oil revenue. The responsibility of generating revenue to run government lies with us all.”

However, staheholders in the telecommunications industry, especially the Association of Licensed Telecom Owners of Nigeria (ALTON), had kicked against the introduction of the taxes.
According to the Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, telecom consumers will bear the burden of the additional 5 per cent tax.

Also, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said he was against the tax and would everything to stop its implementation.

According to him, the telecoms industry was already doing a lot regarding revenue generation in the nation and attempts to stretch it any further might negatively impact it.

“The ministry of communications and digital economy is not satisfied with any effort to introduce excise duty on telecommunication services.

“Beyond making our position known, we will go behind the scenes and go against any policy that will destroy the digital economy sector. We will go to any extent to legitimately and legally defend its interest,” Pantami assured.

Commenting on the amount the Federal Government might make from implementing this tax, the Chief Operating Officer, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Ajibola Olude, said, “I don’t see the Federal Government implementing the five per cent excise duty.

“The Minister for Communications and Digital Economy faulted the plan saying it didn’t follow due process. There are laid-down rules before implementing that 5 per cent excise duty. Another reason why I don’t see it being implemented is because of the current macroeconomic factors in the country. Prices have not been stable, if they implement it, it will lead to an upsurge in crimes.”

The President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, who was at the forum where the implementation of the excise duty was discussed, had revealed that the government had planned to implement the tax in 2020 but stopped because of the COVID-19 pandemic.



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