The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), an NGO, has urged the Federal Government to shelve the planned increase on the services in the telecommunication sector from from the current 5.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent.
Revealed that Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed in the past two weeks disclosed the plan of the ministry, to increase excise duty on telecommunication services from the current 5.5% to 12.5% on the premise to drive revenue.
However, the Executive Director of NITAD, Prof. Yahuza ZakariYa’u, while briefing newsmen in Kano said that the increase would bring hardship to Nigerians.
ZakariYa’u therefore, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to jettison the proposed increase.
He further called on the President Buhari to set up the process of developing a National Policy on Community Networks, so that communities could address issues on their community infrastructure.
”We find this unacceptable to as it will not only create more hardship to Nigerians but also more fundamentally undermine the economic recovery of the country.
“The effect of the proposed increase is to make calls and data more costly in the context in which already Nigerans are paying heavily for this.
”Nigeria is one of the countries with low affordability index as calculated by the Alliance for Affordable Internet,”ZakariYa’u said.
The director also observed that at the moment, only less than 45 per cent of Nigerians have access the full spectrum of telecommunication services, with several others not being able to afford both the cost of access and cost of use.
“This means that more than half of Nigerians are not able to do so for several reasons, chiefly among which is their inability to afford both the cost of access and cost of use. Nigeria does not manufacture telecommunication equipment and devices so it can hardly bring the
ZakariYa’u said Nigeria needs to increase her broadband penetration to 95 per cent by 2030 and to achieve 95 per cent digital literacy by 2025. (NAN)