Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Ali Pantami, has revealed how he made President Muhammadu Buhari suspend the proposed five per cent tax on calls and data.
KEMI FILANI NEWS had reported that the Federal Government on Monday suspended the proposed excise duty, which was to be imposed on telecommunication services.
Narrating how the suspension was achieved, Pantami said Buhari decided to suspend the taxation after a petition he wrote explaining that the decision would put more hardship on citizens and have a negative impact on the economy.
The minister stated this while speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Committee on Excise Duty for the Digital Economy Sector in Abuja on Monday.
He said, “Recently, it was announced that government officials have kickstarted the process of introducing excise duty in the telecommunication sector. Based on the constitution of Nigeria, and being the representative of President Buhari in the sector, I rejected that wholeheartedly on the 2nd August 2022. I explained to President Muhammadu Buhari in my letter that could serve as a petition that we are not in support of.”
According to Pantami, the excise duty is usually enforced on luxury products such as alcohol, cigarettes or sugar, which is done to reduce consumption of certain products.
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The minister argued that broadband and telecommunication services have become essential and no longer a luxury, especially as it supports learning, and e-business operations, among others.
“By implication, if we are introducing that, we are discouraging the citizens of being part of the digital economy; making calls, online learning or other business activities in e-commerce and others. I explained to the President that the economic situation doesn’t allow putting more burden on our citizens on a matter that is becoming more of a necessity by the day,” Pantami said.
“Because of this, I told Mr. President that the attempt will destroy the sector that is becoming the backbone of our economy . Secondly, it will add more hardship to citizens in Nigeria. It is because of this that Mr President immediately approved my prayers,” Pantami said.