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UPDATED: Buhari approves exemption of telecom sector from 5% excise duty

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the recommendation of the Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami to exempt Telecommunication sector from 5% Excise Duty.

The Minister disclosed the approval by Mr President to newsmen during a press briefing of the Presidential Review Committee on suspended Excise Duty in Abuja on Tuesday.

AFRIPOST recalls that the Federal Government on Monday, September 5, 2022, announced the suspension of the proposed 5 per cent Excise Duty on telecommunications services, and inaugurated a committee chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, to review the policy, immediately.

Pantami explained that he opposed to the proposed excise duty in the interest of the suffering Nigerian low income earners. He further justified his action by disclosing that there are already existing 41 categories of taxes, levies and charges in the telecommunication sector.

Hence, Pantami said, “There is no justification for excise duty in the sector because the industry is already heavily taxed up.

“The sector has been contributing hugely to Nigeria’s economy; more tax burden destroys the industry. We increased revenue generated by 594 per cent from N51 billion quarterly to N481 billion quarterly.”

He added: “This is the only sector where the prices of services have been reduced. There is no justification for the government to impose more burden on its poor citizens.

“Many MSMEs and SMEs depend on the sector for survival; if the tax is increased, the impact will take a toll on these businesses.

“To this end, on March 6, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the exemption of the digital economy sector on the 5 per cent excise duty because it would harm Nigerian citizens.”

In his opening remarks, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof Umar Danbatta, reiterated the commission’s resolve to improving the telecom industry.

Danbatta said the reduction of data had been the main target of the commission, noting that the average 1 gigabit of data has dropped to N335 from N350.

He called on Nigerians to report mobile network operators charging exorbitant prices for data using the Commission’s toll free line 622.

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