President Buhari Approves New Tax on Phone Calls, Proceeds to Finance Free healthcare for Vulnerable Nigerians

President Buhari Approves New Tax on Phone Calls, Proceeds to Finance Free healthcare for Vulnerable Nigerians

  • Nigerians will have to pay more for phone calls as the federal government move to raise funds to finance free healthcare for vulnerable Nigerians
  • President Buhari is reported to have approved the new tax before he embarked on a two-day condolence visit to UAE
  • This is coming less than a month after the telecommunication industry operators wrote a letter demanding an upward review of tariffs on data and phone calls by 40%

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the collection of taxes on every phone call made by Nigerians.

The telecom tax is the equivalent of a minimum of one kobo per second for phone calls and will be the source of funds required to finance free healthcare for the Vulnerable Group in Nigeria.

The newly approved tax is contained in the National Health Insurance Authority Bill 2021 signed by President Buhari.

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New Tax, healthcare for vulnerable Nigerians
President Buhari approved the new tax before embarking on a condolence visit to UAE Credit: Presidency
Source: Facebook

Government to collect over N90 billion yearly

According to the Nigerian Communications Commission, Nigerians made 150.83 billion minutes of calls in 2020. This translates to 9.05 trillion seconds of calls, meaning the new tax will generate 9.05 trillion kobo, which converts to N90.49bn, yearly, the Punch reports.

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Purpose of the Tax

According to the Health Insurance Act, the Vulnerable Group Fund is money budgeted to pay for healthcare services for vulnerable Nigerians who cannot pay for health insurance in a bid to subsidise the cost of provision of health care services to vulnerable people in the country.

It added that the Vulnerable Group Fund will subsidise the provision of healthcare to children under five, pregnant women, the aged, physically and mentally challenged, and the indigent as may be defined from time to time.

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More details from the tax

The act also makes provision for several options such as basic health care provision fund to the authority; health insurance levy; telecommunications tax, not less than one kobo per second of GSM calls; money that may be allocated to the Vulnerable Group Fund by the Government; motley that accrues to the Vulnerable Group Fund from investments made by the Council: and grants, donations, gifts, and any other voluntary contributions made to the Vulnerable Group Fund.

Nigeria's 2022 budget is riddled with corruption as BudgIT discovers over N378bn hidden duplicated projects

Meanwhile, Nigeria's civic tech organisation, BudgIT revealed that out of 21,108 capital projects in the 2022 approved budget, 460 are duplicated projects worth over N378.9billion.

The budget tracker also raised alarm about over-inflated projects amounting to billions of Naira directly linked to the State House and the Presidency.

According to Gabriel Okeowo, BudgIT’s Country Director the loopholes for fraud in the 2022 FG budget is a crime against the 86million Nigerians living below the poverty line.

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