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General News of Monday, 5 September 2022


FG suspends 5 percent tax on calls, data

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami

The Federal Government has suspended the proposed excise duty on telecommunication services.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, announced this during the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Committee on Excise Duty for the Digital Economy Sector.

The programme held in Abuja on Monday.

Pantami had kicked against the implementation of the tax, which he described as an overburden for the telecommunications sector.

He had said that the National Assembly members were not consulted.

Pantami said he personally rejected the policy and advised President Muhammadu Buhari against it in view of the effects it would have on the digital economy.

According to him, the introduction of excise duty in the telecommunication and information and communications technology industry would jeopardise the successes already recorded within the industry.

But the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had accused him of sabotaging government efforts.

“Against the comments by Isa Ali Pantami, honourable minister of communication and digital economy, concerning the five percent excise duty hike on telecoms services, it is worth noting that there was a circular stating the planned hike which was addressed to the communication minister and other relevant ministries and agencies of government,” the statement reads.

“The circular Referenced No. F. 17417/VI/286, dated 1st March 2022, and titled “Approval for Implementation of the 2022 Fiscal Policy Measures and Tariff Amendments” was addressed to different ministers, including the honourable minister, communications and digital economy and other heads of government agencies.

“In view of the above position of Prof. Pantami, there could be the question of whether he was absent in the whole process that resulted in the Finance Act, which is a product of both the National Assembly and Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“Suffice this to say that before the Act, the Finance Bill would have been through the FEC of which Prof. Pantami is a member and the National Assembly. In other words, he was involved in the making of the Finance Act, which spells the said excise tariff hike policy.

“Therefore, he could not obviously have had a point in his dissenting views even as the national assembly could not have contradicted itself on this matter because the parliament had passed the Finance Bill before President Muhammadu Buhari signed it into law,” he had said.