The Nigerian Government has suspended the controversial 5 per cent excise duty on telecommunication services recently announced by the Ministry of Finance and Nigerian Customs.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami made the announcement during the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Committee on Excise Duty for the Digital Economy Sector in Abuja.
While announcing the decision, the Minister explained that the telecommunications sector is already overtaxed with multiple taxations. This is even as he directed that a committee be constituted to look into the matter carefully and advise him accordingly.
If you recall, through the recently held stakeholders’ engagement, the Ministry of Finance and the Nigerian Customs Service announced plans to commence the implementation of its proposed 5 per cent exercise duties on telecommunication services and beverages in 2023.
However, the CDE Minister kicked against the move, which he stated would increase the cost of telecommunication services and increase for Nigerians and widen the gap in access.
The Minister said, “It is because of my intervention that the President have granted my invocations, no one immediate suspension of excise duty in the digital economy sector, and no two he approved that a committee be constituted to look into the matter carefully and advise him accordingly. This committee is to be chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.”
Speaking on why he kicked against the excise duty, the Minister said, “Despite our achievements, we have been recording some challenges in the sector, and if care is not taken, these challenges could be a barrier to the development of the industry in the next few years to come.”
The Minister noted that prices of products and services in other sectors had increased significantly, but the prices in the telecom sector remained unchanged in the last three years.