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Pantami kicks against proposed tax on telecom services

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Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami has kicked against the move by the Federal Government to impose an inclusive excise duty on telecommunications services in Nigeria.

The minister made his stance known on Monday while speaking at the ongoing maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE) organized by the Nigerian Communications Commission in Lagos.

Speaking against the backdrop of last week announcement by the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed that the Federal Government will implement 5 percent inclusive excise duty on telecommunications services in the country.

Pantami said aside the fact that his ministry has not been officially informed about the proposed tax, the ministry would resist it because it is not satisfied with the decision.

“We will definitely challenge the decision.”

“There are about seven sectors of Nigeria’s economy contributing largely and these sectors are less than 2 percent of Nigeria’s economic sector. ICT contributes more than other sectors and it should be encouraged, while those sectors contributing less to GDP should be monitored properly and ensure they do more. If we fail to do this, we will continue to increase and increase tax by the day.”

“You introduce excise duty maybe to discourage the consumption of certain products like alcohol, like tobacco and many pieces where you didn’t produce it,” he said

He said telecom services such as broadband have become a necessity and without them, nothing could be done in various sectors.

“How can you do financial services in Nigeria without broadband, how can we communicate with ourselves, how can you we a hospital without Internet”? He asked.

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