Minister of the Communications and Digital Economy,Prof Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has reaffirmed Federal Government’s determination to reverse the trend of importation of all types of telecommunications products, especially as production in Nigeria is possible.
Pantami who spoke at the first indigenous telecom content expo at the Landmark Centre in Lagos, got immediate commendation from the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, who told the audience that the Minister’s efforts and support has spurred the Commission to take certain steps that have yielded immediate results being showcased at the expo.
Pantami emphasised that Government was putting efforts towards the protection of the telecom industry, which contributes impressively to the GDP, by insisting on the drastic reduction in the reliance on foreign products. He consequently warned against importation of such products like SIM Cards that can be produced in Nigerian. He also took a swipe at the recent efforts to impose 5 per cent Excise Duty on telecommunications services in Nigeria, arguing that the Ministry which oversees the industry was not consulted and that the timing of such duty in a period of hardship as is being witnessed in Nigeria today is antithetical to the growth of the industry.
“I was not consulted before the decision on 5 per cent excise duty was reached, and it was unfair to impose such a tax on an industry that was already burdened with other taxes and already contributing about 17 per cent to the country’s revenue”, he said.