From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Federal Government has said telecommunications subscribers in the country would commence payment of five percent tax on calls, SMS data and other telecom services.
This was disclosed at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ‘Stakeholders Forum on the Implementation of Exercise Duty on All Telecommunications Services’ held on Thursday in Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, urged stakeholders to support the implementation of the 5 percent exercise duty on telecommunications services.
Ahmed who was represented by the Assistant Director, Tax and Policy, Mr Musa Umar, applauded NCC for providing the platform to increase Nigeria’s revenue generation .
According to her, other countries in Africa such as Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania have all adopted this strategy to generate more revenues for their nations and change their economic situation for good.
“The issue of revenue is not something that we need to shy away from as our revenue can no longer take care of our needs as a country.
“Also Nigeria is no longer making enough money in oil revenue hence the attention is shifting to non-oil revenue”. Ahmed stated. She assured that the exercise will be carried out in a seamless manner with minimal impact on citizens.
Earlier, in his remark, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof Umar Danbatta, said the forum was necessary for stakeholders to understand the 5 percent exercise duty on telecom services implementation.
“As telecoms industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission has engaged with the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Nigerian Customs Service and consultants from the World Bank to get needed clarifications. These engagements enabled us to better understand the objectives and proposed implementation mechanisms of the Excise Duty. Nonetheless, we consider it imperative that these implementing agencies should also meet directly with telecoms industry stakeholders to address areas of concern”, He said
Similarly, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali urged stakeholders to be patriotic toward implementing the policy. Hameed noted that telecommunications operators must comply with the service to effectively achieve the process. “Either to pass the cost to consumer or capture it in an appropriation. The payment is to be made in arrears, on the 21st of every month”, he stated.