- The Nigerian telecommunication industry has been hit with a major setback with the announcement of a new government policy
- Telecom subscribers are now expected to pay 5% excise duties in a bid to raise revenue for the federal government
- It was gathered that the decision was necessary following the recent state of economic down-turn in the country
FCT, Abuja - The Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has staged a stakeholder forum on the implementation of the "Excise Duty".
Major stakeholders in the telecom sector and ICT sector were in attendance at the convergence which was held on Thursday, July 28 in Abuja.
At the forum, governmental actors like the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), and the ministry of finance reeled out the benefits of the implementation of the exercise duties.
As gathered by our Legit.ng's regional reporter who was present at the event, the federal government plans to impose a 5% exercise duty on telecom companies, ICT firms, and other related stakeholders.
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Stakeholders reject enforcement of excise duties
Reacting to the submissions of the federal government, the leadership of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engr Ikechukwu Nnamani says the association and its members will not be paying the 5% excise duties.
"Our position as an industry is that we will communicate this to our regulator, but we will not be able to adopt this implementation on behalf of subscribers."
He, however, stated that the association and its members will support the federal government in the course of the implementation, but telecom subscribers will be the ones to bear the burden of the tax.
In corroboration to his remark, the executive secretary of ATCO, Ajibiola Olude vehemently condemned the move stating that it was an attempt to frustrate the telecom sector.
He urged the federal government to drop the implementation of excise duties and focus more on the development of other sectors.
NCS calls for synergy to help revive Nigeria's economy
Reacting to ATCON's criticism, the Assistant Controller General of Customs Lami Wushishi said the initiative is not an attempt to frustrate the telecom sector.
She stated that the initiative is geared towards making revenue for the federal government in order to ensure veritable and rapid development in the country.
She stated that the federal government is in its time of need as the current state of the economy requires sacrifice to ensure the smooth running of activities.
“This money is not going to the Nigerian Customs Service, it is going to the government and everybody is a beneficiary as long as you are a Nigerian.
“We have families too, we are subscribers, so everybody is involved so this is a sacrifice we need to do for the nation. The nation is in dire need of this revenue.’’
She, however, noted that the initiative is not alien to other nations of the world as it has been practiced for several years in other nations.
Prior to the latest development, in 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the act into law.
The implication of his assent to the new law means the Nigerian Customs Service is saddled with the responsibility to collect the taxes on telecom companies, ICT firms as well as all local and foreign goods and services.
Meanwhile, other associations like the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) also kicked against the implementation of excise duties.
The forum entertained the presence of Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed who was ably represented by Musa Umar (Assistant Director Tax Policy) as well as the the Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta who was also represented by Adeleke Adewolu (Executive Commissioner Stakeholders Management).