FG suspends proposed 5% tax on calls and data


The Nigerian federal government has suspended the initial implementation of a 5% excise duty on data and voice calls in the country’s digital economy sector.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, announced in Abuja during a committee’s inauguration to review the policy.

According to him, the imposition of excise duty in the telecommunications and information and communications technology industries would jeopardize the industry’s current successes.

Mr Pantami hinted that he personally opposed the policy and advised President Muhammadu Buhari against it due to the consequences for the digital economy.

Mr Pantami also stated that the ICT sector is currently overburdened with multiple federal and state taxes.

He said that telecommunications and ICT companies already pay more than 41 taxes and that subjecting them to excise duty would be unfair.

Meanwhile, the federal government has established a presidential committee to review the excise duty in the digital economy.

The committee has the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as chairman and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, as a member.

Other members are the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta; the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Muhammad Nami; and representatives of the telecommunication industries.

Last month, the Minister of Finance revealed that the federal government was going to implement a new per cent tariff hike on data and calls.

According to her, this will start with implementing a per cent excise duty tax on all voice calls, SMS, and data services.

This is “in addition to the existing 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT), paid for goods and services across all sectors of the economy.”