Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has kicked against the plan by Federal Government to impose five per cent excise duty on telecommunications services in the country.
Pantami said he would use every legal instrument available to fight the decision because “it didn’t go through wide consultation”.
He maintained that the five per cent would affect the sector negatively if allowed to stand.
“The five per cent excise duty will overburden the industry,” Pantami said at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications indigenous Content Expo, NTICE, in Lagos.
According to him, the sector, which was already attracting huge revenue, creating jobs and adding huge revenue to the GDP, should not be overburdened with such taxes.
“As a Minister, I was neither consulted nor received a memo to that effect. Even the relevant lawmakers that were supposed to be consulted have also told me they were not,” he said.
”Things are not done that way. Besides criticising the tax, we will take every legal measure to ensure the tax does not stand.”
Pantami also lamented the huge percentage of importation of ICT and telecoms equipment into the country, even when some of them could be obtained.
He gave a marching order to all stakeholders that “henceforth, the Federal Government will not tolerate importation of anything into the country when we have the capacity to produce it.“
“The sector has to significantly reduce importation. The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and the National Office for the Promotion of Indigenous Content, NODIT, should enforce this policy. By 2025, we’ll be able to increase our indigenous content and reduce importation by about 20 per cent.”